Newly discovered rain frog named after climate activist Greta Thunberg

Newly discovered tiny rain frog named after climate activist Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg Rain frog (L) and Greta Thunberg (R). Photo: ZooKeys, Reuters

A new species of rain frog discovered by scientists in Panama jungle has been named after Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The new species, Pristimantis gretathunbergae, popularly known as Greta Thunberg Rain frog was first discovered in 2012.

The Rainforest Trust auctioned off naming rights for some species and it was an auction winner who decided to name this new rain frog species in honour of Greta Thunberg.

A study published in the scientific journal 'Zookeys' notes that the pristimantis gretathunbergae has distinctive black eyes unique to Central American rain frogs. Its upper lip is “light coloured and sharply demarcated to darker snout colouration,” according to the study. It also states that the new species has a poorly defined tympanic membrane, absence of vocal slits, and absence of nuptial pads.

Pristimantis gretathunbergae differs from other coexisting species of the P. ridens species group in Panama by being larger in size, and by having white, cream, yellow, or orange-reddish colouration on the inguinal area, often suffused with red pigment.

The new rain frog species is endemic to Panama, but it could occur near mountains along the border in Colombia. Its currently known distribution covers eastern Panama with records from the Darien Mountains within Embera Comarca and the Maje Mountains within Darien and Panama Provinces, including the type locality at Cerro Chucantí.

Currently, there are 13 species of Pristimantis frogs known to occur in Panama. Pristimantis gretathunbergae occupies elevations higher than 700 m a.s.l. at sites of more than 400 km further north in Panama.

The global climate activist, Greta initiated a “School Strike for Climate Action” outside the Swedish parliament to demand a radical response to the threat of the ongoing climate change. Then sixteen-year-old Thunberg’s example has inspired students worldwide to carry out similar strikes called Fridays For Future that started in August 2018.

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