After years of genetic study, the Amarakaeri poison frog of Peru has been determined a new species. It caught the attention of the scientific community because of its distinct croak and its curiously dark body highlighted with two sleek, orange stripes. Beyond that, the traditional markings on its legs—present in all other poison frogs—are missing. It’s truly one of a kind.
Humans have been fascinated by poison dart frogs since their initial discovery. Since the golden poison frog produces the deadliest toxins than any other land animal in the world, it is no surprise that indigenous South American populations used to dip the tips of their arrowheads in its poison—giving them the “dart” in their name.
Beyond that, poison frogs are pretty remarkable in their behavior towards their young. While most male frogs abandon their families after the eggs are laid, these guys watch over and hydrate the eggs until they hatch. Then, they carry their tadpoles to water ON THEIR BACKS. This allows the mother to focus on other tasks, such as laying more to use as food for her new young.
While this is an amazing discovery, it pairs with a darker one. Because of the mass deforestation caused by humans in the Amazon rainforest, the species in dwindling. So fast, actually, that scientists are worried about how much they can learn about the species before it is extinct.
Makes you wonder how much Amazonian life has been destroyed before we knew anything about it at all.