Tag Archives: frogs

Foam produced during mating of tropical frogs could improve drug delivery through the skin

After mating, some tropical frogs will secure their eggs in foam that at the same time nurtures and shields growing embryos like a bubble-wrapping. In a new study, researchers found that this lathery substance, which contains proteins with antibacterial properties and is highly durable, could be an excellent medium for delivering drugs through the skin, providing an alternative to irritating synthetic foams and gels.

From the jungle to the lab

Most foams, whether it’s shaving, beer, or saliva foams, collapse within minutes. Some can last for hours. But the foams produced by the mating Túngara frogs (Engystomops pustulosus) can last for over a week — and that’s in harsh tropical environments to boot. Given the highly sensitive nature of a frog’s skin, the compounds in the foam are naturally biocompatible. When researchers became aware of all this, a light bulb instantly lit up.

Sarah Brozio, a former researcher at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, has been studying Túngara frogs and their foams in Trinidad since she was a graduate student. She teamed up with microbial biochemist Paul Hoskisson and pharmaceutical engineer Dimitrios Lamprou, who were curious whether the stability and structure of frog foams could support carrying and releasing drugs.

Using foam collected from halfway across the world, the team got busy testing the amphibian concoction in their lab in Scotland, where they employed a battery of tests that probed its composition and stability. In the process, they learned that the foam contains a mixture of proteins that share some properties with pharmaceutical foams without the drawbacks.

Most importantly, the foam derived from the tropical frogs is “stable enough to be manipulated and able to withstand shear forces, suggesting potential for the delivery of drugs over prolonged periods,” the researchers mentioned in a study published this week in Royal Society Open Science.

The researchers brought back frog foam from Trinidad, removed the eggs, let them hatch, then released the tadpoles to the wild. Credit: Paul Hoskisson.

The foam contains densely packed bubbles called vesicles, which seemed sturdy enough to carry drug compounds. To put this theory to the test, the researchers inserted rifamycin, a common antibiotic, into the foam. The antibiotic was slowly but steadily released over the course of a week. That’s an almost perfect time frame since patients typically require an antibiotic regimen lasting five to 14 days.

“This is the first time an amphibian foam has been used for drug delivery,” Hoskisson told Smithsonian Mag, adding that the foams “should give us a really nice, safe delivery vehicle that can be administered to patients without any fear of making them sick, unlike many of the other synthetic delivery vehicles.”

Synthetic foams can only release drugs for 24 hours. What’s more, they can sometimes trigger allergies or irritate a patient’s skin. In this context, the frog foam could be a complete game-changer if it can be produced at a mass scale. Brozio showed that the foam could be produced without having to wait for frogs to copulate. She genetically engineered bacteria to contain frog DNA that produced six key proteins in the foam. Her lab foam was stable for 1-2 weeks, on par with the natural, love-tainted frog foam.

Tests on human skill cells in a petri dish showed that the foam was safe. In the future, the researchers will commence tests on pig skin, then live animals like mice and rabbits. If all goes well, clinical trials may commence that determine if the frog-inspired foam is viable for treating a range of ailments, such as infected wounds and burns. 

Translucent glass frogs use a never before seen novel form of camouflage

Credit: Geoff Gallice, Wikimedia Commons.

Glass frogs are famous for their see-through skin that can even reveal the amphibians’ internal organs. Surprisingly, not too much attention has been given to this fascinating translucency — until now.

An international team of researchers used a combination of field trials and computer-aided modeling and detection to analyze the glass frog’s translucent skin in unprecedented detail. In doing so, the researchers concluded that the amphibian employs a novel form of camouflage called ‘edge diffusion’.

According to Dr. James Barnett, who began the research while he was still a Ph.D. student at the University of Bristol in the UK and is now based at McMaster University in Canada, the frogs are actually green but their skin brightens and darkens depending on the background.

“Glass frogs are quite well known for their transparent belly skin through which we can see their internal organs, and this has made them a common feature of nature documentaries. Being transparent is an intuitive way of avoiding detection and many have speculated that this may be why glass frogs have transparent skin,” Barnett told ZME Science.

“Glass frogs are not, however, completely invisible and when viewed from above the frogs are green, and more translucent than transparent. So, we wanted to answer the question: if predators cannot see straight through the frogs why do glass frogs have transparent skin at all, and not the opaque camouflaged patterns of other tree frog species?”

A frog leap in camouflage

Cochranella albomaculata glass frog in Costa Rica. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The frog’s habitat is made of leaves colored in different nuances of green, and the change in brightness allows the frog to camouflage with its environment very subtly, the study concluded.

In other words, the glass frog’s camouflage is very different from that of both opaque and fully transparent species.

And although other animals might employ edge diffusion camouflage, the glass frog is the only creature to do so that we know of so far — and it took quite a bit of effort to find it.

“Glass frogs are small, nocturnal, and spend a lot of their time high in trees above fast flowing water, so catching the frogs could be quite tricky. In Ecuador, we spent our days and nights clambering over slippery rocks in up to waist high water in order to place out our gelatine model frogs and search for real frogs sat in the trees around us. On more than one occasion we found ourselves completely soaked and a glass frog sat just out of arms reach looking down on us,” Barnett recounted.

Additionally, the study concluded that the glass frog’s legs are more translucent than the rest of the body. When the legs are tucked to the frog’s side at rest, the change in brightness creates a diffuse gradient from the color of the leafy background to the frog’s body color.

“Visual systems are very sensitive to edges where two different colours meet, and thin, highly contrasting edges are particularly conspicuous. By having translucent legs and resting with the legs surrounding the body, the frog’s edge, where it meets the leaf, is transformed into a softer less contrasting gradient, blending the frog and leaf together more smoothly,” Barnett said.

Edge diffusion in action. Credit: Dr. James Barnett.

Transparency is a great camouflage, but it is mostly reserved for aquatic species that have been able to grow tissue that shares a similar refractive index to the surrounding water. Although glass frogs are often cited as a rare example of terrestrial transparency camouflage, their sparse pigmentation is more illustrative of translucence.

“Camouflage is very widespread and incredibly diverse, but all of this variation can be divided into categories based on how the patterning tricks the observer. Two of the most common strategies are ‘background matching’, where a pattern replicates the surroundings, and ‘disruptive colouration’, where high contrast patterns create unrecognisable shapes that hide the animals’ outline. Being transparent is usually thought of achieving camouflage in a similar manner to background matching. We found that glass frog translucency works in a different way, that is more akin to disruptive colouration, but which is conceptually distinct. Translucency creates a diffuse edge that blends the frogs and leaf together more smoothly. These processes may apply more widely to other species with translucent edges but as far as I am aware glass frogs are the only known example so far,” according to Barnett.

The new study addresses much speculation surrounding the glass frog’s appearance, showing that the amphibians indeed employ camouflage — and a novel one to boot that scientists hadn’t considered before.

“The glass frogs that we were able to study in this project are actually some of the least translucent of the group, which has over 150 species. We are interested in exploring how variable translucency can be and how glass frogs may be using translucency in different contexts. Understanding more about the natural world around us can help us appreciate the complexity of natural systems.”

The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meet the goliath bullfrog: the largest living frog on Earth

An adult Goliath frog caught by a local froghunter. Credit: Marvin Schäfe.

Most frogs you’ll encounter are no bigger than the palm of your hand. Yet over the course of their 140-million-year-old evolutionary history, there has been a great deal of variation in size, which is still evident today among the over 4,800 known species of frogs. These range from thumbnail-size to as large as a whole human foot or housecat, the latter being the case of Cameroon’s Goliath frog (Conraua goliath).

The giant among frogs

Deserving of their name, Goliath frogs can easily grow up to 34 centimeters in length and 3.3 kilograms in weight. Their beefy girth enables them to perform impressive 3-meter jumps and push large rocks to build small dams for their nests. On the flip side, their large size makes them an appealing meaty meal for human hunters and other predators. Due to overhunting, the world’s largest frog is currently classed as endangered.

Before it turns into a giant of the swamp, however, the goliath frog starts off as a tadpole that is no bigger than those of an average frog. However, after an incubation period of about 90 days, the Goliath frog tadpoles keep growing and growing for up to 12 months until they reach maturity. That’s when they are ready to mate — and they do some pretty amazing things for the sake of love.

Goliath frogs build their own ponds, sometimes hurling rocks half their weight

There is still much we don’t know about the Goliath frog. They occupy a relatively small range that stretches from southwestern Cameroon into Equatorial Guinea, a habitat that isn’t easily accessible by humans. What makes them even more elusive is their skittish behavior. If they sense a human, the frogs will quickly jump in the river to hide, so it takes a skillful huntsman to stalk and catch goliath frogs.

That’s why a lot of things about goliath frogs were still unknown, particularly about their mating and nesting habits — until several years ago when researchers looking for Goliaths along a 400-meter stretch of the Mpoula River in western Cameroon stumbled across some peculiar scenery. The shore rocks had empty dips, where leaves, gravel, and other debris had been cleared. It didn’t take long for them to identify multiple other such cleared pools right above the waterline.

Some of these pools were empty, but a few were full to the brim with tadpoles. That’s when Mark-Oliver Rödel, a herpetologist at the Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary and Biodiversity Research, knew he had struck gold.

Between February and May of 2018, Rödel and colleagues monitored 22 breeding sites, 14 of which contained more than 3,000 Goliath eggs each.

Goliath froglets are smaller than 0.7 inches (18 millimeters) when they leave the nursery pond. Credit: M. Schäfer/ Frogs & Friends e.V.

The researchers spoke to locals who reported that the frogs were known for building their own nesting pond. However, they were amazed to find three types of nests when they reviewed the Goliaths’ behavior.

The most simple and common type of nest involved clearing leaves, sediment, and other litter out of rock pools in the river bed, taking advantage of pre-existing structures for breeding. The second type of nest involved enlarging existing shallow ponds. The giant frogs push gravel and other litter out of the way, essentially forming their own mini-dams.

The third and most impressive type of nest saw the frogs use their legs to dig depressions into the riverbanks, which they encircle with large stones and rocks. Some of the rocks the frog hurled to form their own ponds could weigh up to 2 kilograms, more than half of the Goliaths’ weight.

A goliath frog nest built into coarse gravel. Credit: Mark-Oliver Rödel.

According to the researchers, it is the male Goliaths that do all the heavy digging and lifting. Once the nest is finished, the male will make whistling sounds to attract females. After they mate, the female deposits her eggs, which she’ll guard until the tadpoles are ready to hatch. The authors mention in their study published in the Journal of Natural History that such unusually careful parenting is very rare among frogs.

Digging such a nest is quite physically challenging, and partially explains why Goliaths evolved to grow so large. Rödel and colleagues have plans to set up more camera traps to learn more about Goliaths. They hope to use whatever information they learn to aid conservation efforts meant to protect this iconic species from extinction.

“The fact that we’ve only just discovered these behaviors shows how little we know about even some of the most spectacular creatures on our planet,” Rödel said in a statement. “We hope that our findings, combined with further ongoing research, will improve our understanding of the needs of the Goliath frog so we can help support its continued survival.”

Fungus turns frogs into sex zombies, but then kills off whole species

A new study of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a deadly fungus that affects amphibians worldwide, found that it spreads by making males’ mating calls more attractive to females. The pathogen alters the reproductive habits of different species of amphibians, explaining why frogs and related species continue to disappear across the globe.

“If true—that the fungus is manipulating individuals’ behaviors to facilitate its spread—then this is extraordinary,” says Michael Ryan, a herpetologist at the University of Texas, Austin, who was not involved in the study.

The Japanese frog is one of the few species resistant to Bd. But individuals are still becoming infected.
Image credits to wikimedia user Alpsdake

Bd causes a condition named chytridiomycosis or chytrid fungus disease, which destroys amphibians‘ skins, disrupts their immune systems and ultimately causes heart failure and death. It was first discovered in the 1990s when several species of frogs in Australia and Central and South America went through massive die-offs.

The extinction of hundreds of amphibian species in recent years has been attributed to Bd, and it could potentially affect one third of the amphibian species currently on the planet. While there is no known cure for the fungus, a few species of frogs are known to survive several years after infection — indicating a certain level of adaptation towards fighting it.

But as Bd has been relatively contained up to now and species are being exposed to it for the first time, usually there is little natural defense against the fungus.

“Some people think that amphibian populations are declining primarily due to catastrophic die-offs caused by Bd,” says Bruce Waldman.

“But the story is much more complicated than that.”

Southern mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa) killed by the chytrid fungus.
Image via sciencedaily

Waldman and his student Deuknam An studied Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) in the wild to find out how Bd affects species seemingly resistant to it. This amphibian, which inhabits area in central Asia, Korea and Japan, hasn’t been experiencing the massive die-offs associated with the pathogen even though individuals are getting infected.

The team studied and recorded the mating calls of 42 male Japanese tree frogs from June to mid-August 2011 (during the mating season) in the rice paddies of South Korea. Here’s a recording of a normal call:

They looked for things such as the number of pulses per note, repetition rate of pulses, number of notes or total duration of the call. Out of this sample, nine frogs tested positive for Bd. These were slightly larger than their uninfected counterparts (40.17mm on average compared to 39.24mm.)

The team also reported that these males became lethargic, but put more effort into their calls compared to the others– for example, they produced longer songs, a trait which females are known to prefer. Here’s a recording of a Bd-infected male:

If you were a female Japanese frog, your lady-frog-parts would be on fire right now.

“Therefore one would expect the amount of calling to be lower in infected males,” Ryan notes.

“But this is not what the study found—and that’s very surprising.”

This suggests, he adds, that Bd can act like a parasite and turn its host into a zombie. These zombie males then go on to spread Bd further in the population by using their fungus-fueled sex appeal: the females they mate with become infected too, and their offspring inherit the fathers’ susceptibility to chytrid fungus disease.

The team hasn’t been able to figure out how Bd changes the host’s behavior, but they to have a theory. They point out that the force of natural selection may be looming over these males, which put an extra effort into their calls in order to reproduce faster as a way to compensate for their shorter lifespans.

But the end result is that while the infected males certainly get more action, the population as a whole is severely harmed.

“Bd has an impact on frog populations even when we don’t see outbreaks of chytridiomycosis,” says Cori Richards-Zawacki, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Richards-Zawacki recently found that the disease causes male leopard frogs in the lab to up their reproductive efforts. Although it might seem that a species has adapted to Bd and shows no clinical signs of the disease, she says, “in reality it’s still stressed by the infection, which is likely to take a less dramatic but still important toll on the population over time.”

Waldman says that these “sublethal” effects can kill off a species even if it survives the initial die-off from the pathogen.

“Some of these populations that were hard hit are coming back, but slowly. Their populations are small, and that leaves them vulnerable to other random catastrophic events that might lead to extinction.”

The scientists looked at only one frog species—and only one of its life history stages, Waldman also notes.

“It shows that Bd continues to be an enigma.”

Seven new species of frogs discovered – they’re tiny, and they’re adorable

Seven miniature species of frogs living on seven different mountain tops sounds like the premise for the next Kung Fu Panda sequel. But as researcher Marcio Pie of the Federal University of Parana and his colleagues show in a paper published in PeerJ., it is what they have found in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. Measuring under a centimeter in length on average, the miniature members of the frog genus Brachycephalus like to keep to their own confined territories and have evolved into many varied, but hard to find, species.

Brachycephalus verrucosus has orange-hued skin covered with brownish-green bumps.
Image via: www.washingtonpost.com/

Marcio and his colleagues had to trek up small but rugged mountains, many of which lack well-marked trails to find the little frogs. Given that the area is so rich in these tiny amphibians and since each species holds to one mountain top, it’s assumed that each new mountain searched will yield a new species. If we can catch them.

“It takes a lot of practice and sometimes it’s very frustrating, to go up the mountain for many hours and come back empty-handed,” Pie told the BBC. “You can hear them singing and there’s probably hundreds of them, but you simply can’t catch them! Because once you get closer, just from the vibration in the ground, they keep silent for, say, 20 minutes or half an hour. And then you have to go through the leaf litter very carefully with your hands,” he said.

The main characteristics differentiating between the frogs, many of which have fewer fingers and toes than most in order to optimize for their size, is skin color and texture. They produce varying levels of a neurotoxin called tetrodoxin for self-defence, and their bright skin colors are a warning to potential predators.

“Don’t-eat-me-orange” is hot frog fashion in Brazil.
Image via: www.livescience.com

But it is their exclusive habitat, not predators, that gives Pie ground for concern. He and his colleagues warn that the frogs are in danger of extinction:

“The species is known from a restricted area that is under a variety of sources of perturbation, including deforestation, fire, and cattle farming—even though it theoretically should have been protected given its current status as a private reserve (“Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural”). Therefore, the conservation of this locality is necessary for the survival of this species.” they remark in their paper.

Logging and climate change pose serious threats to the tiny frogs’ survival. They are very sensitive to temperature, this being the main reason they never expanded their territory beyond the mountain tops. To ensure their survival, we may need to start raising them in captivity, say the researchers.

Stinky Frogs to Give Their Human Predators Clues to Survive Diseases

Hyderabad, Dec 10, 2011: Believe it or not. Foul smelling frogs not only offer clues to prepare a new range of antibiotics but boost human immune system against bacterial attacks.

This is despite the fact that human beings continue to haunt the frogs and butcher them for a variety of cuisine like ‘jumping legs’ in restaurants world over though the amphibians protect our environment.

Scientists are now working on clues to developing a new generation of antibiotics from the skin of the stinking frog species, according to the American Chemical Society’s latest Journal of Proteome Research.

The simple fact is that the rotten fish smelling frogs, could survive the worst bacterial attacks in their life span as their skin emits some chemical substances that have the anti-bacterial properties.

Scientists from China, which is one of the countries where frog delicacies are sold in the open, had identified more than 700 of the chemical substances from nine species of odorous frogs.

China’s National Basic Research Program and the National Natural Science Foundation are funding the research.

“We are trying to identify the specific Anti-Microbial Peptides (AMPs)  that account for almost one-third of all peptides found in the world, the greatest known diversity of these germ-killing chemicals,” the scientists said.

“Scientists long have recognized frogs’ skin as a rich potential source of new antibiotics. Frogs live in warm, wet places where bacteria thrive and have adapted skin that secretes chemicals, known as peptides, to protect themselves from infections,” scientists Yun Zhang, Wen-Hui Lee and Xinwang Yang explained.

It might be recalled that a polychrest drug from the poison of  “Bufo Rana” was prepared in Homoeopathy to treat various disorders including nervous troubles, paralysis, rheumatism and impotence.

Homoeopathic Bufo is made from the poison of the toad. The toad releases poison when it is teased or irritated. It can paralyze a dog. The Chinese were the first to apply dried toad poison for a variety of complaints. //EOM//

Front of Henry Astley, one of the two researchers involved in the study of frog tendons, and a northern leopard frog in action. (c) Mike Cohea/Brown University.

Frogs’ huge jumps come from spring-like legs

Front of Henry Astley, one of the two researchers involved in the study of frog tendons, and a northern leopard frog in action. (c) Mike Cohea/Brown University.

Front of Henry Astley, one of the two researchers involved in the study of frog tendons, and a northern leopard frog in action. (c) Mike Cohea/Brown University.

Frogs are able to leap across huge distances, multiple times greater than their body length, however their leg muscles are only a fraction as powerful as they should be to support these kind of jumps. A new study by researchers from Brown University shows that this ability doesn’t come from leg muscles, but lies in their tendons which stretch and load, allowing the frog’s legs to basically function like springs.

Scientists have long pondered this dilema, however advanced observational techniques offered Henry Astley and Thomas Roberts the chance to film frogs jumping at an incredible 500 frames per second, and study even the most subtle moves of their leg muscles. For their observation to become effective, the pair inserted metal beads into the shin, ankle and leg of a quartet of frogs, which helped them form a high frame rate X-ray footage.

The secret, it seems, lies in the frogs’ tendons. As the frog preps his jump, energy is transfered from the leg muscles to the tendons, which pre-load and then release the energy in a burst, which makes for the high characteristic leaps. Sure, the leg muscles are also powerful, a quarter of a frog’s mass is located in the legs for that matter, however without its tendons remarkable streching ability, high leaps like those exhibited by frogs would be impossible.

“As the frog readies itself to leap, its calf muscle shortens. After about 100 milliseconds, the calf muscle stops moving, and the energy has been fully loaded into the stretched tendon. At the moment the frog jumps, the tendon, which wraps around the ankle bone, releases its energy, much like a catapult or archer’s bow, causing a very rapid extension of the ankle joint that propels the frog forward. The entire jump — from preparation to leap — lasts about a fifth of a second, the experiments showed. Other frog species jump much faster,” state the researchers in their report.

Hopefully this particular research will offer more insight into the relation between the muscles and tendons in various animals. For certain, studies of other big leapers like the grasshoper, fleas, or the guinea fowl will follow.

The study was published in journal  Biology Letters

A beetle larva attached to the chest of an amphibian. (c) Gil Wizen / AFTAU

Beetle larvae devour amphibian predators – twist of odds in nature

A beetle larva attached to the chest of an amphibian. (c) Gil Wizen / AFTAU

A beetle larva attached to the chest of an amphibian. (c) Gil Wizen / AFTAU

In a classic David vs Goliath scenario, scientists have observed how the Epomis beetle larvae simply devour frogs, several times larger than the larvae. Thus the pray has become the predator, and vice versa, as the initial predatory frog finds itself sucked out of his lifeline by the larvae until nothing by a sac of bones remain.

It’s a truly freaky turn of events, but which by no means can be considered accidental or isolated – on the contrary. In what can only be considered a very tricky evolutionary maneuver, squirmy larvae cunningly attract frogs or toads by posing as dead meat, wiggling its antennae and jaws in an enticing pattern. These movements become more intensive as the would be predator approaches – like a dance. Whose the hypnotoad now?

Pray becomes predator

Enticed by this ‘siren call’, before the amphibian can get a clue of whatever’s happened, the beetle larvae suddenly eludes its predator and attaches on to the nearest surface of the frog’s body. From there on it starts sucking and draining. In some rare cases, frogs actually manage to swallow the larvae, only to regurgitate them out after a short while, time in which the larvae takes another swing and actually kills the frog.

In one “extraordinary” case, wrote Tel-Aviv University study researchers Gil Wizen and Avital Gasith, a larva survived in the stomach of an amphibian for two hours before the larger animal vomited it back up.

“The unharmed larva immediately demonstrated its unaffected feeding potency,” Wizen and Gasith noted.

The following video has been produced by Tel Aviv researchers, who recorded a live beetle larvae-frog encounter. It’s kinda graphic, so click at your own risk.

Frogs, hopeless in front of the larvae

Generally, ground beetles are a tasty, easy pray for frogs and toads, but for some time now researchers have noticed that the larvae of some species of ground beetles can be terribly ruthless on their own terms. To better observe this behavior in a controlled environment, researchers collected the larvae of two ground beetle species, E. circumscriptus and E. dejeani, and placed them in containers with a variety of frog and toad species.

There were 382 separate tests, and on each account the amphibian turned out dead. Only seven frogs and toads managed to swallow the larvae, but in each case, the amphibian quickly threw up its would-be meal. The regurgitated larvae quickly rallied and attached themselves to the amphibians’ mouths. At an 100% fatality rate, the beetle larvae are some mean, deadly critters.

“This study started as a side-study while checking the population status of toads in the coastal plain of Israel,” said Wizen who worked on the research in the lab of Avital Gasith at Tel-Aviv University. The phenomenon was first discovered in 2005 by Eldad Elron and Alex Shlagman.

“In Israel there are only six amphibian species and all of them are threatened by extinction,” he said.

The research was published Sept. 21 in the online edition of PLoS ONE.

Scientists find new bugs and frogs in Papua New Guinea

AP Photo/Stephen Richards/Conservation International

It’s always nice when new species are discovered, and this time it was an expedition from Papua New Guinea that made the discovery. A frog no bigger than a peanut, a brilliant green katydid with bright pink eyes and a white tipped tail mouse are the stars of the over 200 newly discovered species.

The findings were unveiled just a few days ago by Washington D.C.-based Conservation International and they are the result of just two expeditions in the Pacific island. Other species include 24 frog species and numerous other spiders and insects (even ants and dragonflies) that have never been described before by any human.

“They tell us how little we still know about the world,” research team leader Stephen Richards said Thursday. “There’s a lot of concern, quite rightly, about biodiversity loss and climate change and the impacts on biodiversity and what biodiversity means to us. … Then we do projects like this and we discover, ‘Hey — we don’t even know what biodiversity is out there.'”

The expedition was quite a success, even though researchers had to go through some tough moments, which included traveling by a dugout canoe and lots of trekking through remote parts of the jungle. They were extremely surprised to find there a small frog (about 2 centimeters long) that belongs to a group of frogs thought to live only in the Solomon islands.

“The discovery of any new species is significant because it helps document the biodiversity on this planet, and, more importantly, what we can lose in the future if we don’t care for our environment,” said Craig Franklin, a zoology professor at The University of Queensland in Australia who did not participate in the research.

This is a reminder of just how important field work is for biologists, and how this type of expeditions can help us understand more about the very world we live in.