A new species of frog named after Hobbit writer J. RR A new species of frog named after Hobbit writer J. RR

 A new species of frog named after Hobbit writer J. RR  ,Deep in the jungles   Tolkienof Ecuador lives a creature with pale, pink eyes, long, sticky webbed fingers, greenish-gray skin, and a belly spotted with black and yellow. At first glance, it looks like a creature one would encounter in a fantasy world. And that’s exactly why the researchers decided to name the newly discovered water frog after the father of modern fantasy J. RR Tolkien.

“In a stream in the forest lived one Hyloscirtus. Not a nasty, dirty stream, stained with dirt and smelling of mud, nor a dry, bare, sandy stream with nothing to land on or eat: this was Hyloscirtus-flow, and this means environmental quality,” say the authors of the study in recent studypublished in magazine ZooKeys (adapted from the discovery of The Hobbit by J. RR Tolkien).

Finding the frog

the frog Hyloscirtus tolkieni (or the brook frog of the Rio Negro), lives in the pristine waters that flow from the mountains through Río Negro-Sopladora National Park — which was only recently declared a nature reserve and protected area in 2018.

Read more: 20 new frog species discovered in Madagascar

Researchers Juan C. Sánchez-Nivicela, José M. Falcón-Reibán and Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia named the frog after their mutual love of Tolkien – who is most notable for writing The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. According to a press releasethe frog’s vibrant colors remind explorers of the magnificent creatures from Tolkien’s fantasy world.

Researchers have been studying the park since 2020 and have discovered several species previously unknown to science. According to a press release, the park is located in southern Ecuador and contains large forested areas that have yet to be explored.

(Credit: Juan Carlos Sánchez-Nivicella / Archive Museo de Zoología, Universidad San Francisco de Quito)

“For weeks we explored different areas of the Río Negro-Sopladora National Park, walking from paramo grasslands at 3,100 meters [about 10,200 feet] altitude to forests at 1000 m [3280 feet]. We found one individual of this new species of frog, which we found impressive because of its coloration and large size,” said Sánchez-Nivicella, an associate researcher at the University of San Francisco de Quito and co-author of learning — where the frog is described.

What makes the Rio Negro water frog so valuable?

One can easily distinguish the Rio Negro frog from its cousins ​​by size and color. It is larger by frog standards, about two and a half inches long, compared to other Ecuadorian frogs such as glass frogwhich is about one and a quarter inches long.

In addition to pale pink eyes, the Rio Negro toad has a gray-green back and golden-yellow underside. Black spots cover the abdomen, mouth and toes. According to the press release, the frog also has black stripes and spots on its fingers and toes and wide stripes on its skin.

“The truth is that the tropical Andes are magical ecosystems, home to some of the world’s most magnificent species of flora, fungi and fauna. Unfortunately, few areas are well protected from the negative impacts caused by humans. Deforestation, unsustainable agricultural expansion, mining, invasive species and climate change are seriously affecting biodiversity in the Andes,” said Cisneros-Heredia, director of the University of San Francisco de Quito’s Museum of Zoology and co-author of the study.

The researchers studied only one frog, saying more research is needed to better understand the frog’s habitat and life history. With nearly 57 percent of Ecuador’s amphibian species at risk of extinction, researchers say it is vital to explore new habitats where these frogs can exist and assess whether long-term conservation methods should be implemented to be protected.

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