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Two new frogs discovered in Australia

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Nature

Tiny Toadlet

The 'Tiny Toadlet' is one of two new species of frogs to be found in Western Australia.

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Two new species of frogs have been discovered in Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum has announced.

The discovery of the frogs came in the high rainfall zone of the northwest Kimberley, and the two species were formally described last week in the Records of the Western Australian Museum and Zootaxa.

The first species is called the Tiny Toadlet (Uperoleia micra) and is just over 2 cm long. It was discovered near the Prince Regent River when it was first heard calling near the field expedition base camp at Bachsten Creek.

The new species is extremely shy, and would not have been discovered if its call did not differ from those of three related species in the area.

'Toadlets' are not true toads, but a group of native frogs that have a stocky appearance. The Kimberley is host to the highest diversity of Toadlets in Australia.

The second species, the Kimberley Froglet (Crinia fimbriata), was discovered on the Mitchell Plateau - an area previously believed to be well surveyed for frogs. It is also about 2 cm in length, and was noticed due to its distinctive blue and red background colour, which is covered with tiny white dots.

The discovery of the two frog species in the northwest Kimberley emphasises the high diversity of the area, and is timely given the current State and National reviews of the area's biodiversity assets.

"The northwest Kimberley has a high diversity of frogs and reptiles that are unique to the region, as it receives high rainfall in summer, and the area is cut-off by drier regions to the south. Many of the species that occur there have been evolving...in isolation for millions of years, and there are certainly more species to discover from the area," said Paul Doughty, the museum's Curator of Herpetology.

"Other than being able to describe these two new species, we know very little about their behaviour and habits. To me they are like new friends that we are just getting to know," he said.