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Scientists name a new species of rainfrog after Greta Thunberg

A new species of rainfrog, discovered in the Panamanian jungle, is named after Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. The species was named as Pristimantis gretathunbergae, or popularly known as Greta Thunberg Rainfrog. The frog was originally discovered in 2012 and was thought to be part of the already categorized Pristimantis family. However, recent DNA analysis has confirmed that the frog is a new species, according to the science journal Zookeys.

The new specimen of the tropical amphibian was discovered by an international team of biologists led by doctors Abel Batista, from Panama, and Konrad Mebert (Switzerland) in Cerro Chucantí, a private reserve located in the province of Darién.

It was named after Greta Thunberg when the non-profit organization The Rainforest Trust held an auction that allowed the winner to name new species. The frog was discovered in a reserve established by conservation organization AdoptaBosque with support from the Rainforest Trust.

“Greta reminds us more than anyone that the future of every species on Earth depends on what we do right now to end climate change,” Rainforest Trust CEO James Deutsch said in a press release, adding that they were honored to sponsor the endangered species nomination. species.

Researchers say the tiny frogs are sensitive to environmental changes and face the risk of extinction. (Source: Konrad Mebert et al./ Zookeys)

However, this is not the first time a newly discovered species has been named after the School Strike for Climate Action activist. In 2019, the National Museum of History named a tiny new species of beetle after high school.

The Greta Thunberg Rainfrog, has distinctive characteristics that help it be identifiable from rest by its “unusually prominent black eyes, a contrasting light upper lip, usually a single conical to spiny tubercle on the upper eyelid, and a larger head.

However, the animal’s name has additional ties to its famous namesake, as climate change threatens its natural habitat and faces “a constant risk of extinction”. According to the authors of the paper, these tiny tree frogs “are extremely sensitive to subtle changes in the environment.” The researchers argued that the new species “should be listed as ‘Vulnerable (VU)’ in the IUCN Global Red List (2018)”.

“Cerro Chucantí and the surrounding Maje Mountains are highly threatened by rapid deforestation and replaced by plantations and cattle pastures,” the researchers explained. They further added: “Pristimantis gretathunbergae is endemic to Panama, but it could occur near the mountains along the Colombian border.

“As a flagship species, this new frog may help preserve the Chucantí cloud forest, including several recently described species known only from this isolated area in eastern Panama,” they added, agreeing with the ‘activist. Thunberg called on world leaders to take conservation seriously.