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Newly Found Frog Found In Panama Is Facing Survival Threat

Update Date: Sep 29, 2014 01:18 PM EDT

Researchers have found a new species of poison dart frog in the rainforest of Panama that can fit on a fingernail, according to a new study. 

The frog grabbed the attention of the researcher by its unique characteristic call and orange-colored skin. 

The frog measures just 12.7 millimeters in length. 

"The new species superficially looks much more like the strawberry poison dart frog (Oophaga pumilio)," study co-author Andrew Crawford, a professor of evolutionary genetics and biostatistics at the University of the Andes in Colombia, told National Geographic. "Perhaps A. geminisae had been observed previously but was confused with Oophaga."

"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," Cesar Jaramillo, a Smithsonian herpetologist, said in a statement. "Based on morphological characteristics of the adult and the tadpole, I thought it might be a new species of Andinobates."

Researchers warned that the new frog species appears to be only found in a tiny part of Panama, habitat loss is a major threat to its existence. Therefore, experts have recommended the formulation of special conservation plans that would ensure the survival of the species. 

"It is important we save some of this frog's tiny habitat to be able to study this unusual species more," Crawford told National Geographic.

The study describing the frog has been published in the journal Zootaxa

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