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New York City’s Newest Frog

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Amid the concrete jungle of New York City, nature has a way of surprising us. Biologists have unveiled a remarkable discovery—a new species of leopard frog quietly residing in the city that never sleeps. This frog, named Rana kauffeldi, marks only the second new frog species found in the continental United States in the past three decades. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating story of this native New Yorker frog and what makes it so unique.

A City of Surprises: Discovering Rana Kauffeldi

Newest Frog
Rana kauffeldi (Atlantic Coast leopard frog) Credit: Matthew D. Schlesinger

Amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, researchers stumbled upon a revelation that left them astounded. Led by Rutgers University ecologist Jeremy Feinberg and a team of dedicated scientists, the discovery of Rana kauffeldi, the new leopard frog species, was a groundbreaking moment.

Did You Know? Rana kauffeldi is only the second new frog species identified in the continental United States in the last 30 years.

Unveiling the Genetic Mystery

The initial unveiling of this newfound amphibian was made in a journal called “Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.” In their research, scientists focused primarily on the genetic distinctions of this previously unidentified frog, initially classified as a southern leopard frog.

What Sets Rana Kauffeldi Apart

Newest Frog
Rana kauffeldi (Atlantic Coast leopard frog) Credit: Matthew D. Schlesinger

Rana kauffeldi boasts distinctive features that set it apart. While its skin displays subtle but unique spots, its most defining characteristic is the distinct mating call of the males. Unlike the pulsing and snore-like calls of other leopard frog species in the region, R. kauffeldi’s call is described as a “single-note unpulsed chuck.”

Did You Know? This new species is named after the renowned herpetologist Carl Kauffeld, who had speculated about a yet-undiscovered leopard frog in New York City during the mid-20th century.

Habitat and Survival

Rana kauffeldi predominantly thrives in open-canopied coastal marshes and bottomland floodplains near river mouths. It’s an incredibly elusive species due to its brief breeding period, which coincides with the chorus of spring peepers. This unique timing has helped keep the frog hidden from casual observers.

Did You Know? R. kauffeldi’s habitat is largely fragmented, and many areas where it was once found have been lost to urban development.

A Survivor in the City

Despite the challenges posed by urban development and habitat loss, Rana kauffeldi has displayed remarkable resilience. It has managed to resist the devastating chytrid fungal disease, which has decimated amphibian populations elsewhere. This tenacity to survive echoes the spirit of New York City itself.

Wrapping Up with New York City’s Newest Frog

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Amid New York City’s towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, the discovery of Rana kauffeldi, the native New Yorker frog, stands as a testament to the untamed wonders of the natural world. As scientists continue to uncover the secrets of this remarkable amphibian, it reminds us that even in the most unexpected places, nature continues to surprise and inspire. Rana kauffeldi is a living symbol of resilience—a true survivor amidst the chaos of the city.

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