BARRIO – Ecuador’s forests are home to more than 600 known species of frogs, and more are being described every year. Six other new-to-science species of frogs have been found on Cerro Mayordomo alone.
The frogs’ vibrant patterns likely serve as a warning sign of their toxicity, researchers say. In fact, the guides who found and collected them felt the effects firsthand. After collecting the first frog, Jost writes, “Their hands and fingers … started to itch and tingle, and the pain continued even several hours after they had put the frog down. The juveniles are bright yellow and they also exude an unpleasant substance from their skin.”
On a mountaintop in Ecuador, a researcher spotted some spots. The polka-dotted frog has now been named Hyloscirtus sethmacfarlanei in honor of Seth MacFarlane, the U.S. film and television creator responsible for the show Family Guy and a long-time supporter of the NGO Rainforest Trust.
“This is a very rare frog found only at high elevations in a remote part of Machay Reserve,” Lou Jost, president of EcoMinga Foundation, wrote in a blog post about the new frog. “It took us four years to find enough individuals to make a thorough description of it.”
Although only one female frog has been found, scientists assume all females of the species are black with red spots as no color variation is found within females of closely related species.