Sunday, November 7, 2021

Last month, researchers from the University of Newcastle and the South Australian Museum discovered and published a paper about a new hip-pocket frog species, Assa wollumbin. They used genetic analysis to identify the frog as a distinct species from its close relative Assa darlingtoni. This became one of four, out of 40,000, frog species in the world, in which their father carries tadpoles rather than releasing them into water. Wikinews interviewed the corresponding author, Michael Mahony from University of Newcastle, about the discovery.

The researchers wrote of the discovery in scientific journal Zootaxa, published by a New Zealand publisher. They wrote “The name Assa is Latin for dry nurse [as opposed to wet nurse] which elegantly describes the unique form of parental care.”. The “wollumbin” part of the species name came from the name of the park it was discovered in, Wollumbin National Park, in northern New South Wales.

The frog is about 16mm long, with reports indicating this as the reason why the frog species wasn’t discovered earlier.

Minister for Environment Matt Kean said the NSW government had immediately declaring the new species’ habitat an Asset of Intergenerational Significance under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, to improve protection of the new species.

The frog has reportedly been found on “just one isolated mountain” in the park, Mount Wollumbin (Mt Warning).


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