Many years ago I saw an extremely large and very unusual tree frog in Costa Rica, it was huge compared to most tree frogs I have come across. It belonged to a group of frogs known as Fringe-limbed Frogs, that have extended skin fringes on their forearms and legs, large toe pads, and really extensive webbing on their hands and feet. These are absolutely spectacular frogs that live high in the tree canopy and use their webs for gliding from tree to tree. With their totally arboreal lifestyle and cryptic colouration, they remain one of the rarest and most elusive creatures of the rainforest – just hearing the call of one of these amazing frogs whilst working in the field is enough to make the heart of even the most experienced Herpetologist beat faster.
The taxonomy of Fringed-limbed frogs has always been unclear, with several different species being confused over the years. However, recently there have been some significant developments, with detailed investigations providing much-needed clarity to the taxa and new species being described. Brian Kubicki in Costa Rica has been investigating a smaller Fringed-limbed frog to the one I saw, and after much detailed research discovered it to be a completely new species. His paper, where he and Jay Savage describe the new frog (pictured) has just been published:
Zootaxa 2719: 21–34 (2010)
Article: A new species of fringe-limb frog, genus Ecnomiohyla (Anura: Hylidae),
from the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica, Central America
JAY M. SAVAGE & BRIAN KUBICKI
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