DNA analysis has confirmed that there is a previously unknown species of Leopard Frog living in New York City and the Surrounding Atlantic Coast Regions. Scientists are calling it the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog.
This species is morphologically similar to two other types of frog in the area, Rana sphenocephala and R. pipiens. The frogs distinctive call and molecular data were used to characterize the new species
The discovery came as a surprise in one of the largest and most densely populated urban parts of the
world. It also demonstrates that new vertebrate species can still be found periodically even in well-
studied locales rarely associated with undocumented biodiversity. The new species typically occurs in
expansive open-canopied wetlands interspersed with upland patches. It also likes the coastal bogs of
Staten Island. Centuries of loss and impact to these habitats give cause for conservation concern as
amphibians are sensitive to disease, contaminants, and environmental perturbations.
This is one of the largest human population centres on earth and a region where endemic vertebrate species are rare. The long-term concealment and recent discovery of a new frog here is both surprising and biogeographically significant, and illustrates how new species can occur almost anywhere.
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