Do you know the “glass frogs”? Originally from Central and South America, these amphibians have the particularity of presenting a completely transparent abdomen. To date, 156 species of glass frogs are known, but neotropical biodiversity could include many more. In Ecuadorr, researchers at San Francisco University in Quito have just identified two new species of this family of amphibians. An exceptional discovery, which nevertheless reminds us of the importance of protecting their habitats from human activities.
The two new species were found by researchers in the Andes, near working mining areas, reports GEO† The first species, Hyalinobatrachium mashpicwas discovered in the tropical reserve of Mashpi and the other, Hyalinobatrachium nouns, lives in the Cordillera de Toisan. Not only do these two frogs live close to each other, but they have one thing in common: their abdomens are completely transparent, as seen in the photos of the study published in the journal. pearJ† Heart, liver, lungs, digestion… All their organs are therefore visible to the naked eye and in women we can also see the eggs. No doubt about it: they are indeed glass frogs.
The Andes, a real treasure of biodiversity
But if the two green-backed amphibians dotted with black spots resemble each other, the researchers have confirmed that they are indeed two different species. Indeed, their conversations turned out to be different, says GEO, and the DNA analyzes have allayed doubts about their differences in genetic constitution. †The problem is not finding new species, the real challenge is having the time and resources to describe them. Taxonomists are a kind of dying scientist”says Professor Juan M. Guayasamín, co-author of the study, quoted by GEO†
The identification of these two new glass frogs shows the rich biodiversity of the tropical Andes and is certainly home to other amphibian species, in addition to the 156 glass frogs already known. “The topography here is quite complex, with a lot of unexplored niches and hard-to-reach areas, so endemism is very high (…) When we talk about amphibians in Ecuador, the most diverse place is the Andes, not the Amazon”explains Andrea Teran, herpetologist at the Jambatu Research Center in Quito, interviewed by National Geographic† But according to the scientist, half of the amphibian species in the Andes are seriously threatened by activities related to copper and gold mining.
Species threatened with extinction
In recent years, the natural habitat of these frogs has been greatly affected by deforestation associated with intensive farming. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists 10 species of glass frogs as critically endangered, 28 endangered and 21 vulnerable to extinction, recalls National Geographic† Researchers who have just discovered the two new species have recommended that they be listed as “endangered.”