Another tiny frog species found in sky islands of Brazil

High, cold and wet cloud forests form unique, threatened habitat

CLOUDY FUTURE  The newly discovered Brachycephalus quiririensis in southern Brazil is threatened by pine plantations and cattle ranching.

M.R. Pie ​& L.F. Ribeiro/PeerJ 2015

Another new species of miniature frog has been discovered among the leaf litter in the high cloud forests of southern Brazil, researchers report online August 13 in PeerJ.

About the width of a fingernail, the frog has dull brownish-green flanks, but its back sports a bright orange stripe, which may hint at toxins in its skin. The frog, Brachycephalus quiririensis, and its recently discovered cousins are confined to cold, wet sky islands and can’t survive in warmer, drier valleys. As such, they’re considered indicator species for climate change and other environmental challenges.

The authors say habitat loss from pine plantations and cattle ranching are threatening the 29 known species of Brachycephalus, only one of which lives in a protected area.

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