Philoria Knowlesi: biologists discover new species of frogs in Australia

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A new species of frog called Philoria knows lesi was discovered and its only known natural habitat is the Gondwana Rainforest, located in southeast Queensland, Australia.

However, the population of the new mountain frog is already in decline following massive wildfires in Australia in recent years.

Philoria Knowlesi

(Photo: Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The name Philoria knowlesi was derived from the name of Sydney-based conservationist Ross Knowles, who discovered the new species of amphibian through genetic testing.

The Queensland Department of Environment is already taking steps to protect the frog’s habitat in Gondwana.

The discovery of the new species of mountain frog was part of a joint effort between conservationists from the Queensland State Government, the University of Newcastle, South Cross University, the South Australian Museum and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Since 2006, scientists have been collecting and analyzing DNA from mountain frogs in the rainforest, as part of a taxonomic database update that has led to confirmation that there are a total of seven other species distinct from mountain frogs.

Distinct from but related to its frog cousins, Philoria knowlesi has a brown color and its skin is also slimy.

These frogs breed in spring in Australia from September to November and in early summer which starts from December.

The breeding ground involves the deployment of small bogs or a small breeding chamber on the banks of mountain streams.

These breeding sites are where tadpoles develop and emerge.

Read also : Scientists Discover Eight New Species of Frogs in a Mountain Forest

Conservation efforts

Rangers have already used a variety of methods to support the recovery of areas affected by the widespread bushfires that have ravaged Australia, according to Harry Hines, a senior conservation officer, quoted by The Guardian.

The biggest threat to the newly discovered creature is habitat loss.

With this, local rangers are implementing measures to repel stray livestock, manage feral hogs, and deploy mitigation efforts against future bushfires.

Part of Australia’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund is worth $3.85 million worth of projects for the Gondwana rainforests, according to The Guardian.

mountain frogs

Mountain frogs are known for their ability to survive in the cold or freezing temperatures of high altitude areas.

However, various modern threats have driven these amphibians to extinction in more than 93% of their former mountain homes, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, a US-based nonprofit organization.

Besides Australia, yellow-legged mountain frogs can also be found in other parts of the world, including the Sierra Nevada and the Southern California Cross Ranges, where the so-called “mountain gnomes” once thrived.

Yet the frogs are protected under the Endangered Species Act of 2000.

Meanwhile, mountain frogs in Australia are also protected by the Biodiversity Conservation Act of 2016, which prohibits taking amphibians and their tadpoles from the wild or even into one’s own backyard, according to the Environment and Heritage Group, part of New South Wales. Planning and Environment Department

Black summer bushfires

Philoria knowlesi and other mountain frogs were just among the 3 billion animals reported killed or displaced during Australia’s wildfires between late 2019 and early 2020, known as the Black Summer Bushfires , according to ABC News.

The wildfires are also believed to have killed dozens of people, including firefighters, cost more than $100 billion in damage, and destroyed thousands of infrastructure, including buildings.

Related article: In South American highlands, disease is killing frogs as climate change threats loom

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