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No croaking: new frog species groans

The Atlantic Coast leopard frog. Photo by Brian Curry at http://news.rutgers.edu

The Atlantic Coast leopard frog. Photo by Brian Curry at www.news.rutgers.edu

Cherry Hill [AP & Rutgers.edu]

US scientists have discovered a new frog species that makes some un-froglike sounds.

The Atlantic Coast leopard frog found in southern New Jersey groans and makes coughing noises rather than croaking sounds.

The unfamiliar call attracted the notice of wildlife experts several years ago in Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Morris County.

They photographed the frog and concluded it wasn’t the northern leopard frog or southern leopard frog.

The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill reports a Rutgers University-led team recently identified the species in an online scientific journal.

Experts say it shows that the state’s marshes and swamps are valuable to wildlife, even in urban or suburban areas.

In a report on the Rutgers University site, report co-author Brad Shaffer said, ‘If there is a single lesson to take from this study, it’s that those who love nature and want to conserve it need to shut down their computers, get outside and study the plants and animals in their own backyards.’

Scientists say the fact that this new species – which brings the total number of leopard frogs in the world to 19 – remained under the radar in a highly populated area spanning eight east coast states and several major North American cities stretching 485 miles – is remarkable.

‘It is incredible and exciting that a new species of frog could be hiding in plain sight in New York City and existing from Connecticut to North Carolina,’ said Rutgers professor Joanna Burger.

‘The process of recognising, identifying and documenting a new species is long and arduous but it is important for our understanding of the wide-ranging wildlife in urban as well as other environments.’


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