Seven new species of miniature frogs found in Brazil

One of the species of miniaturised frog found in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.
Luiz Fernando Ribeiro
A team of researchers has uncovered seven new species of a highly miniaturised, brightly colored frog genus known as Brachycephalus in the rainforests of Brazil.

Each species is restricted to cloud forests in one or a few adjacent mountaintops, thus making them highly vulnerable to extinction.

The Atlantic Rainforest of southern Brazil is home to a unique group of frogs that have intrigued naturalists for over a century.

The frogs are among the smallest terrestrial vertebrates, with adult sizes often not exceeding 1 cm in length.

Many species of Brachycephalus are brightly colored, possibly as a warning to the presence of a highly potent neurotoxin in their skin known as tetrodotoxin.

The first species of Brachycephalus was described in 1842 by the famous German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix, but most species in the genus have been discovered only in the past decade.

The latest ones to be discovered followed nearly five years of exploration. The find was reported in the journal PeerJ.

Brachycephalus leopardus, one of the new species.
Marcio R. Pie, CC BY SA

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