A new species of mountain frog has been found in the rainforests of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, Australia.
The Philoria knowlesi species was discovered by researchers at universities, the Federal Institute for Science and Industry Research, the Museum of South Australia, and ecologists at the Ministry of Environmental Sciences (DES).
DES and outside researchers suspected the existence of an undiscovered mountain frog species in 2006 when they began collecting and analyzing DNA from mountain frog populations in Queensland and New South Wales. .. Areas monitored by the research team were Mount Barney National Park and the Lever’s Plateau in northern NSW within the Gondowana rainforest, one of Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
DES Senior Conservation Office Harry Hines said in the department Media release Researchers have long suspected that there is a new species, but genetic evidence of the frog species was needed to confirm it.
“The taxonomic status of these populations remained unresolved for years, as there were no DNA samples available from the Mount Bernie and Lever Plateaus,” Hines said.
“In the last 16 years, we have collected DNA samples and determined that these populations are actually genetically distinct and ensure that they are considered new species,” he said.
Philoria knowlesi come in a variety of colors and patterns and are confined to areas adjacent to highland rainforests and moist eucalyptus forests. Seeds breed in small swamps, headwater banks, and infiltrations. There, males can create breeding rooms in moist areas for tadpoles to fully develop between spring and early summer.
“This new species of frog belongs to a lineage found only in rainforest vegetation communities,” said Michael Mahony, Professor Emeritus of the University of Newcastle (UON).
“Most are confined to the headwaters of mountain streams,” said David Newell, a senior lecturer at Southern Cross University (SCU), at SCU. news release..
Mahony and Newell said the Gondwana rainforest, the only known habitat of Philoria nouresi, has one of Australia’s most diverse ecosystems.
“The rainforests of Mount Barney National Park in Queensland and the adjacent Mount Nosofagas National Park in New South Wales have special importance in the evolution of Australia’s biophasic,” they said. .. “This is why it is enshrined as part of the Gondwana rainforest, a World Heritage Site in Australia.”
“Currently, there are seven known species of mountain frog, six of which are found only in the Gondwana rainforest area,” said Mahony and Newell.
Important habitats such as Australia’s wildlife and the Gondowana rainforest, as well as several species of mountain frogs within them, were extensively affected by the 2019-2020 Black Summer wildfires.
The Australian Government has sought to address this impact by devoting $ 200 million ($ 142 million) to wildfire wildlife and habitat recovery packages. The most affected areas and endangered species were prioritized for funding.
In addition, the federal government has provided $ 3.85 million to the Queensland Government for the recovery of fire-affected areas in southern Queensland, such as the Gondowana Rainforest.
According to a DES-led, government-sponsored wildfire recovery program in Queensland, mountain yellow-legged frogs that survived the Black Summer still live in areas burned by fire, Hines said.
“Not only that, increased research efforts have led to the discovery of additional populations of new species,” Hines said.
In addition, he said researchers were able to collect the only systematic data on bio-phenological calls, “supporting future research and acoustic monitoring design of species.”
According to Hines, DES is currently considered an endangered species and is working to protect the habitat of new frog species as part of ongoing park management.
“There are many steps Rangers are taking to help restore the fire-affected areas of Mount Barney National Park and the Gondowana rainforest, including where these frogs were found in Queensland.” He said.
Measures implemented include programs to control wild pig populations, fences to keep cattle out, ongoing fire control to limit the risk of future bush fires, and weed control in the surrounding area. It will be. Weed control aims to support habitat regeneration.
Professor Mahony said the new species was named Philoria Nouresi to honor the environmentalist Ross Knowles from St. Ives, Sydney, New South Wales, due to his outstanding work on Australian frogs and conservation.
“This naming acknowledged Knowles in an early field study that first revealed the high diversity of mountain yellow-legged frog species,” Mahoney said.
“And thanks to his long-standing support for environmental value and the conservation of Australia’s unique biodiversity.”
The official description of the new frog species is Scientific papers It was published in Journal Zutakusa.