Adorable ‘chocolate frog’ discovered in crocodile-infested swamp

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The chocolate frog has been hiding in the crocodile-infested swamps of New Guinea, evading detection until now. (Image credit: Steve Richards) With big, cartoonish eyes, a coy cheek-to-cheek grin and skin like milk chocolate, this frog is so adorable you could just eat him up. The scientists who discovered it in the swamps of New Guinea were apparently thinking the same thing; they’ve nicknamed it the "chocolate frog." This candy-colored amphibian, described for the first time in a study published May 20 in the Australian Journal of Zoology , is closely related to the iconic green tree frog ( Litoria caerulea ) that’s common throughout northern and eastern Australia. From there, New Guinea is just a short hop away; the two islands were even connected by a land bridge until about 10,000 years ago. Over their long history as neighbors, Australia and New Guinea have hosted many of the same types of animals. In their new study, researchers based at Australia’s Queensland Museum wanted to paint a clearer family portrait of the green tree frog’s lineage on both islands. So, they traveled to New Guinea and collected frog specimens in the island’s southern, savannah-like ecosystems, as well as the […]

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