Turns out that cockroaches, pigeons, and rats aren’t the only creatures intent on surviving in New York City. Biologists have discovered a new species of leopard frog in the concrete jungle, National Geographic reports.
While the frog was actually discovered two years ago, it’s just now that the team of biologists, geneticists, and ecologists have verified that the amphibian is actually a distinct species, Rana kauffeldi:
Though its skin has subtly distinctive spots, R. kauffeldi’s most revealing characteristic is the mating call of the males. The researchers describe it as a “single-note unpulsed chuck,” unlike the pulsing and snore-like calls of the region’s other leopard frog species.
Those calls are what led the researchers to the new frog, said Feinberg. While conducting southern leopard frog field studies, every so often they’d hear the unusual “chuck” sound above the pulses. Eventually they realized that the two calls rarely occurred in the same habitat.
Considering that humans are just discovering its existence now, it almost goes without saying that the frog is hard to spot. Marshes and other wetlands are its natural habitat — “places where you can almost see and smell the ocean,” according to Rutgers biologist Jeremy Feinberg.
The sad news is that the frog, believed to once inhabit the entire city, is now confined to a small part of Staten Island. (There’s got to be a bleak metaphor in there somewhere, but let’s not think too hard about it.)