The newly identified frog is among more than a dozen distinct leopard frog species.
While it was fairly common to find new species in the wild or in rain forests, to discover one in marshes and ponds in an urban area such as New York was nothing short of amazing, said Leslie Rissler, programme director with the National Science Foundation.
“The species is completely distinct. It has a very small range and it was quite a surprise to find a new species in New York City,” said Rissler, part of the team that found the species.
Researchers used DNA testing to find this “cryptic” species, which is one species hidden within another.
They stumbled across the new frog, and the discovery was “extremely rare”, he said.
The team was doing a study on the southern leopard frog at the University of Alabama, and another scientist contacted them to say they have found some frogs that look like southern leopard frogs, but do not quite sound like them.
Jeremy Feinberg at Rutgers University first noticed that the new amphibian had “weird-sounding calls”.
The species is so new that it does not even have a name yet.
Rissler said there will not be any naming contests for this new amphibian.
“I think some people would like to name it, who knows, Staten I, a lot of things to do with New York City. However, we have to go back to these different museums, find the exact voucher specimen that was used for these other species and, if there is an old name that’s available then we will use that name because that’s the proper way to do it, rather than taking bids on who wants to name the new frog in New York,” he said.
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