New pumpkin toadlet species found—and it secretly glows in the dark
The animal belongs to a family of at least 36 pumpkin toadlets, which are named after the popular Halloween squash. Like poison dart frogs, their vibrant color is likely a signal to predators that their skin carries a potentially deadly toxin.
The new species, described recently in the journal PLOS ONE, was found during an extensive research effort across Brazil to find new pumpkin toadlets. Identifying the creatures is crucial to conserving Brazil’s biodiversity, especially in species-rich areas such as the Atlantic Forest, which has lost 93 percent of its original cover due to deforestation and agriculture, experts say.
Brazil has the highest number of amphibian species in the world—at least a thousand—but amphibians worldwide are among the most vulnerable groups of vertebrates, particularly as the climate changes.(Read about seven “mini-frogs” discovered in the Atlantic Forest.)
“The best moment to be a scientist is when you are looking at something new and you are the only person who knows,” says study leader Ivan Sergio Nunes Silva, a herpetologist at São Paulo State University.
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