Litoria mira, real life version of chocolate frog found; all you need to know about it

The frog species are considered a member of the predominantly Australian Litoria genus of tree frogs. Image: IE

If you have ever seen Harry Potter, you will remember a chocolate frog that appears in the wizarding world. Well, it looks like a similar frog has been found in real life. In the rainforests of New Guinea, a species of frog lives that looks like it has been made of chocolate. First spotted by an Australian scientist, Steve Richards, in 2016, a report by The IE noted that this frog could be a new species and is being considered as an addition to the knowns of the animal kingdom. Some specimens have been taken for genetic tests and research on the cocoa-coloured frogs.

The frogs are now called Litoria mira and the name has been inspired by the Latin adjective mirum. Mirum means surprised or strange and the name fits perfectly for the new species of frog that have surprised scientists. The frog species are considered a member of the predominantly Australian Litoria genus of tree frogs. On May 20 this year, Richards (a frog specialist associated with the South Australian Museum) along with Paul Oliver who is from the Queensland Museum and Griffith University) after carrying out the genetic analysis, published a paper published in the Australian Journal of Zoology announcing the discovery of this frog species.

It is to note that Litoria mira bears resemblance with the common green tree frog of Australia- also known as Litoria cerulean. They both look similar apart from their skin colour. However, some differences can be seen when studied closely. According to the report, Litoria mira can be differentiated from all other Litoria due to its unique combination of webbing on hand, large size, limbs that are relatively short and robust as well as a small violet patch of skin which is present on the edge of its eyes.

It is likely that both (chocolate frog from New Guinea and the Australian green tree frog) were linked by land around 2.6 million years ago and share biotic elements. To be sure, in the present, the island of New Guinea and Queensland are separated by the Torres Strait. Oliver said that understanding the biotic interchange between these two areas is important to know how the two habitat types have expanded and contracted over time.

Meanwhile, after many years the chocolate frog species has been discovered. The reason why it took so long to discover it could be attributed to the fact that New Guinea is one of the “world’s most unpleasant places for humans” as it is made of hot rainforest swamp that is infested with malarial mosquitoes, spiky trees as well as crocodiles. The place has no roads implying that the terrain does not encourage exploration.

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