Biologists discover Novel Species of bright orange dart frog

Colombian biologists have come across a new species of frog in the headwaters of the Rio Cano in Panama. They have discovered a new bright orange dart frog species with the help of its unique characteristic call.

Researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Universidad Autonoma de Chiriqui, Panama and Universidad de los Andes, Colombia identified the frog.

This frog has been named as the 'Andinobates geminisae' after Geminis Vargas - the wife of Marcos Ponce. For the first time, this kind of frog was collected in February 21, 2011 by field assistant Samuel Valdes.

Later, biologists Marcos Ponce and Abel Batista collected additional specimens of this frog from the headwaters between Rio Cocle del Norte and the Rio Belen.

All the collected specimens were transferred to the University of Panama for a detailed study.

Cesar Jaramillo, a Smithsonian herpetologist stated that Abel Batista and Marcos Ponce were the first to note the presence of this species. They've known it was there for several years. However, they were not sure if it was only a variety of another poison dart frog species, Oophaga pumilio, which exhibits tremendous color variation.

Jaramillo added that after studying the morphological characteristics of the adult frog and the tadpole, he soon realized that it might be a new species of Andinobates.

Eventually, Professor Andrew Crawford at the Universidad de Los Andes sequenced the DNA of the bright orange frog and confirmed that it is a new species of a poisonous dart frog called Andinobates.

According to the news release, "A geminisae is included in the captive breeding program of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation project, a consortium of six zoos and research institutions dedicated to saving amphibians from the chytrid fungal disease, which is decimating amphibians worldwide, and habitat loss".

United States