New frog species discovered in New York City

Atlantic Coast leopard frog’s habitat covers hundreds of miles

Atlantic Coast leopard frog

FROG IN THE CITY  The Atlantic Coast leopard frog was discovered in New York City and inhabits wetlands along the I-95 corridor between Connecticut and North Carolina.

Matthew Schlesinger, New York Natural Heritage Program

A new frog species, discovered in New York City six years ago, has been found in many spots along the East Coast, from Connecticut to North Carolina.

The Atlantic Coast leopard frog (Rana kauffeldi) was first identified on Staten Island when ecologists realized that its call was distinct from that of a lookalike, the southern leopard frog (Rana sphenocephala). The Atlantic Coast species croaks in a single burst of sound, while the southern leopard frog calls with multiple pulses.

Researchers have now collected recordings of calls and tissue samples from leopard frogs along the East Coast to define the range of the new species. They found the Atlantic Coast leopard frog in coastal freshwater wetlands and low-lying river floodplains along a wide swath of the coast. The new frog’s range is described October 29 in PLOS ONE.

“We can still find new species not only in the rainforest or in remote areas of the world, but in places that are very familiar,” says coauthor Jeremy Feinberg, an ecologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “Your backyard might just have a surprise.” 

More Stories from Science News on Animals