Introducing Rana kauffeldi, the first amphibian to be discovered in New York since the Fowler's toad in 1882. Crazily enough, the elusive 'cryptic' leopard frog has gone unnoticed elsewhere; the darned thing is widespread along the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
Details of the new frog are being reported in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The researchers were able to distinguish it from other species based on its unique call — a single "chuck" instead of the "pulsed ak-ak-ak" and "snore-like calls" characteristic of two similar species. A molecular analysis of its genetic profile also proved the existence of the heretofore undescribed species.
Specimens have since been identified in seven U.S. states as as far south as North Carolina. DNA from the species has also been collected in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
"[This] discovery clearly demonstrates that human knowledge of the natural world remains incomplete even in the best-known locales," noted lead author Jeremy Feinberg in the study. And because it was discovered in a well-documented urban region, "occasional future discoveries from well-cataloged areas may continue."
Images: Feinberg et al/PLOS