A team of researchers has discovered what seems to be a new species of frogs that has the unique ability to change the texture of its skin. The shape-shifting frog was found in the western Andean forests of Ecuador.
According to the experts this special frog can change the texture of its skin in a matter of minutes in order to mimic the environment it lives in.
The new species of shape-shifting frog was named Pristimantis mutabilis, which translates as the “mutable rainfrog”.
The amphibian is currently living at the Reserva Las Gralarias, which is a natural reservation created in order to protect several species of endangered birds.
The biologists who discovered the new species of frog said that this is very important and could impact the way new species are found and identified.
According to them, this process could require photographing the animals and would take longer observations in the field in order to make sure that one species is not seen as two because of its ability to change the way it looks.
The scientists first captured the small frog, which originally had a spiky look, and placed it in a cup with a lid on it. The following day, the researchers put the frog on a piece of plastic to better photograph it. That’s when they noticed that the frog looked different. Its skin had gone from spiky to smooth in just a few minutes.
The researchers then placed the frog back in the cup and added some moss to see what happens. It appeared that in just a matter of seconds the frog changed back to its spiky texture in order to match the moss environment.
Katherine Krynak, one of the researchers who discovered and studied the shape-shifting frog, explained that this species of amphibian uses its spines and skin coloration to blend into grassy, mossy habitats. This helps them hide from predators and makes it very hard for researchers to find them.
This is not the first frog that can change the way it looks, scientists say. Another frog, called Prismantis sobetes, is a close relative with similar “special powers”, but is twice as big.
Image Source: cnet
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