The Krynaks volunteer their time and also support the reserve with a private nonprofit foundation.
The pair first spotted the frog in 2006 and only snapped a photo, but later realized it could be a newfound species when they enlarged the image. They started calling the frog a "punk rocker" for its spiny-textured skin. "It wasn't until we saw the amazing texture of its skin that we thought, 'wow, this is something different,'" Katherine Krynak told Live Science.
A female mutable rain frog is just 0.8 to 0.9 inches (20 to 23 millimeters) long, and males are even smaller, the new study reports. The rain frogs are a species-rich group that skips the tadpole stage and develops into frogs directly within their eggs.
Lead study author Juan Guayasamín, a professor at the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica in Ecuador, first suggested the little frog could be a new species, Krynak said. In 2009, the Krynaks finally saw another punk rocker frog and grabbed it for a detailed photo session, putting it in a small plastic cup overnight.