One of the many great things about the world is scientists are still uncovering new species each year. A new type of pumpkin toadlet is no exception. However, this pumpkin toadlet is even more impressive as it glows in the dark. Yes, really.
The brand new pumpkin toadlet
He’s orange, he’s bright, and he’s about the size of a thumbnail. It’s time to meet the brand new pumpkin toadlet. The species was found in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil and is thought to belong to a group of at least 36 pumpkin toadlets. Like most other poison dart frogs, being so brightly colored is a warning to others that these frogs are dangerous. Although Atlantic Forest was once known for its incredible diversity, it has lost an estimated 93% of its original size thanks to agriculture and deforestation.
Uncovering the new species
A team of researchers wanted to uncover as many new pumpkin toadlets as they could find, so they set about scanning the forest floor and quickly came across Brachycephalus rotenbergae. Back in the lab, they started testing the DNA of the specimens they found and learned they had a brand new species on their hands, meaning they had plenty to learn all about the latest toadlet on the block. It might be no wonder the team was able to find what they were looking for, as Brazil has the largest number of amphibian species on the planet.
A few differences
Looking into the new pumpkin toadlet’s characteristics revealed there are quite a few differences between this one and other members of the species. To start, they have an extremely small snout compared to other pumpkin toadlets and is a lot smaller all around. That’s not all. The newest pumpkin toadlet also can’t hear the sound of their own mating call as their ears are undeveloped. The researchers believe these pumpkin toadlets rely purely on visuals, meaning they likely communicate by opening and closing their mouths. Amazingly, that isn’t the strangest thing about the newest toadlet from Brazil.
A special feature
Believe it or not, but the newest pumpkin toadlet has a unique feature that means they flow when they’re under ultraviolet light. This is a wavelength that many amphibians can see, but it’s impossible to detect with the human eye. So far, there are only two other pumpkin toadlets that are known to have the feature, meaning this find is incredible when it comes to researching the species. This may be linked to the fact these toadlets can’t hear their own call. Being a visual creature means that they could be able to attract mates from across the forest without making a noise.
Brazil is filled with so many weird and wonderful creatures. Now, it seems there is a new one to add to the list: a brand new branch of pumpkin toadlet. Of course, it wouldn’t be a new discovery without uncovering something amazing. Does the fact this pumpkin toadlet glows qualify them for a place on the list? We think so.