Baku, May 20, AZERTAC
A pair of newfound species of glass frog — amphibians with transparent underbellies that put all their internal organs on display — have been discovered in Ecuador.
But the naming of one of the species has triggered controversy.
According to Live Science, one of the new species has been, Hyalinobatrachium nouns, is lime-green on top and clear as window glass underneath; it's named after the Nouns decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), a group that buys and sells non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with cryptocurrency.
The Nouns DAO won the right to name the frog species after donating (in traditional cash) to the environmental nonprofit Rainforest Trust. But because cryptocurrency is carbon-intensive, some conservationists are unhappy with the association.
The little frogs at the center of the controversy were discovered in 2019. They're boggle-eyed and almost cartoonishly cute, with an eye-catching pattern on their backs of lime green with light yellow spots. The two new species look nearly identical and are very similar in appearance to other Hyalinobatrachium glass frogs. In fact, researchers led by Juan Manuel Guayasamin, a biologist at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador, had to use genetic sequencing to discover that the frogs were unique species.
H. nouns and the other newly described frog, now known as H. mashpi, live in the Ecuadorian Andes. They were quite genetically distinct despite being found only 11.7 miles (18.9 kilometers) apart, the researchers reported March 18 in the journal PeerJ.
The species were separated by the Intag-Guayllabamba river valley. Numerous river valleys cut through the Ecuadorian Andes, the researchers wrote, which have led to a great deal of amphibian diversity in the region as populations get cut off from one another and diverge into different evolutionary paths.
Of the 1,120 amphibian species reported in the Andes, about 70% are endemic, or found nowhere else on Earth, the researchers wrote.
Glass frogs are known for their doting parenting style, which is unusual for amphibians. Females will stay on their eggs as the males fertilize them, protecting the brood.
In some species, the fathers then take over, staying with the eggs as they develop, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
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