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Aussie researchers discover 'parachuting frog' in PNG

Litoria pterodactyla
Litoria pterodactyla or the 'parachuting frog' (Stephen Richards)

NEWS DESK | Xinhua News Agency

BEIJING - A team of Australian researchers has discovered a new species of parachuting frog, hidden away in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The group of scientists from Griffith University and Queensland state museum also came across two other previously unknown frog species during their expedition around Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

There has an incredible diversity of frogs and a lot of those species have only been described for the last 10-20 years, senior curator at Queensland Museum Paul Oliver told Xinhua.

"The more you go back, the more you get to new areas, the more you find new species."

Officially named Litoria pinocchio and Litoria vivissimia, the other two look similar to regular tree frogs, however, the previously unknown creatures have a small spike protruding from the tips of their snouts.

The third newly found frog called Litoria pterodactyla or the parachuting frog has an entirely different distinction.

"It's a big green frog with lots of webbing on its toes," Oliver explained.

“They live high in the forest canopy and if they want to move they will just jump into the air and they spread their fingers and toes, and then they can control their descent."

While this is the first recorded sightings of the three species, Oliver said, that doesn't necessarily mean they're rare.

"There are lots of forests where they occur and in the areas where they live there are not many people, so there's not a reason to feel like they're going to lose their forest home in the future, so we would guess that their population is secure."

"But the honest answer is for each of the three frogs, we've seen them only once. So we just don't know."


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