Like a page out of a storybook, researchers have just found a tiny frog living in a tiny nature-made pool formed by the leaves of a plant.
The new tree frog has been named Dendropsophus bromeliaceus, aka the Teresensis' bromeliad treefrog, which refers to locals at the municipality of Santa Teresa, Brazil, where the frog was found, and to the leafy bromeliad plants in which it lives.
"Bromeliads accumulate rainwater between leaves, which provides refuge, moisture and water," wrote lead researcher Rodrigo Ferreira and colleagues in a PLOS ONE paper describing the discovery.
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Ferreira, a researcher at both Utah State University and Brazil's Universidade Vila Velha, and his colleagues found the frog while surveying the plants along rocky outcrops at Santa Teresa. It is a mountainous region within the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.
They both heard and saw the little frog as one leapt out of its plant home.
The scientists now suspect that the new species spends its tadpole stage in the leaf-created water pool before heading out to explore other leafy territory. Such a lifestyle is unusual, as many other frogs of a similar type begin their lives in small ponds or puddles on the ground.
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The frog is not a quiet creature either, as it advertises its presence for others.
"The advertisement call is composed of a moderate-pitched two-note call," according to the researchers. "The territorial call contains more notes and pulses thatn the advertisement call."
Females appear to be larger than males. Ferreira and his colleagues also believe that it's the males of this species that do the parenting.
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The frog is light brown in color with distinctive cream markings, including a racing stripe-resembling mark that runs from about the eye to nearly the full length of the frog's back. Tadpoles exhibit different markings. They have a more cream colored upper body punctuated with dark brown dots.
"The discovery of this new species emphasizes the importance of this mountainous region for amphibian conservation," the authors wrote. "Even though Santa Teresa and its surrounding areas in southeastern Brazil are one of the most sampled regions in the Atlantic Forest, the region still harbors numerous remote areas that have not yet been sampled for frogs."