Researchers discover a new Beaked Toad at roadside
On an expedition to Peru in November 2019, shortly before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, a group of researchers including Jörn Köhler, zoologist at the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, discovered a new species of ‚beaked toad‘.
The new species from the Cordillera Azul is characterised, as the name implies, by a particularly long ’nose‘. Although most toads are brown, these animals are predominantly green in colour, but it were mainly genetic studies that aided in their identification, Köhler reports.
The team of Peruvian and German scientists now named the species Rhinella chullachaki. Chullachaki is the name of a mythical Amazonian creature described as the guardian of the forest. According to legend, it can take on different forms and inflict suffering on people who do not treat nature with respect. »We thus point to the ongoing habitat destruction in Amazonia« says Ernesto Castillo, one of the co-authors from the Natural History Museum in Lima.
The discovery of the new species came as a surprise as the animals were found at the edge of a busy road, one of the few main arteries across the Andes connecting the capital Lima with the lowlands of the Amazon. So in this case, it was not pristine rainforest reachable only by several days of boat travel and walking, but a small creek next to the researchers‘ parked car.
Dr. Jörn Köhler, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, natural history, T +49 (0) 6151 1657-063
CASTILLO-URBINA, E., F. GLAW, C. AGUILAR-PUNTRIANO, M. VENCES & J. KÖHLER (2021): Genetic and morphological evidence reveal another new toad of the Rhinella festae species group (Anura: Bufonidae) from the Cordillera Azul in central Peru. - Salamandra 57 (2): 181-195. [open access at https://www.salamandra-journal.com