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#OtvPHOTOS: Shape-Shifting Frog Discovered | MUST SEE!!!

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A new species of frog has been
discovered that possesses a
unique, shape-shifting ability
never seen before in an
amphibian.
Case Western Reserve University
reports that the frog can change its
skin texture in a matter of
minutes, appearing to mimic the
texture it is sitting on – a move
designed to allow them to blend in
with its surrounding to hide from
predators, say researchers.
The frogs were discovered by wife
and husband Katherine and Tim
Krynak – the former a PhD student
and the latter a projects manager
from the university – when they
were on a visit to a nature reserve
called Reserva Las Gralarias in
north-central Ecuador’s Andean
cloud forest.

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Katherine Krynak describes how
she scooped up the frog – which
then had little spines earning it
the nickname “punk rocker” – on a
nightly search for wildlife in 2009,
and kept it in a cup with a lid.
When she opened the cup the next
day, she thought she had picked
up a different, smooth skinned
frog.
She said: “I then put the frog back
in the cup and added some moss.
The spines came back… we simply
couldn’t believe our eyes, our frog
changed skin texture! I put the
frog back on the smooth white
background. Its skin became
smooth.”
“The spines and coloration help
them blend into mossy habitats,
making it hard for us to see them,”
she added. “But whether the
texture really helps them elude
predators still needs to be tested.”
The researchers have also found a
relative of the frog, which has
been named pristimantis mutabilis
or ‘mutable rainfrog’, which is
twice the size but has the same
shape-shifting ability. This species,
prismantis sobetes, was previously
known but the shape-shifting was
never before reported.
Katherine and Tim Krynak and
colleagues from the Universidad
Indoamérica and Tropical Herping
in Ecuador published a manuscript
this week in the Zoological Journal
of the Linnean Society laying out
their findings.
One implication from the findings
is that the researchers are now
facing a challenge to the
established system of identifying
species by their appearance, as
species identified by just a few
preserved specimens might have
had changeable appearances.
The researchers are planning to
continue their investigations into
the mutable frogs in the reserve,
and to see if they can discover a
common ancestor to the related
species.

_NEWSWEEK

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