Biologists have discovered a new species of dart frog in the Panama, and it has been named andinobates geminisae after Geminis Vargas, the wife of Marco Ponce who authored the story, for her help and support toward discovering the new dart frog species. The new bright orange dart frog has a unique and characteristic call and this is what gave researchers an impetus into researching and ultimately discovering it.
Although the frog was first collected in February 2011 by Samuel Valdes, it wasn’t until recently that the specimen was fully analyzed by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the Universidad Autonoma de Chirriqui in Panama, and the Universidad de los Andes in Columbia.
According to Cesar Jaramillo, a herpetologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, “Abel Batista and Marcos Ponce were the first to note the presence of this species. 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. Based on morphological characteristics of the adult and the tadpole, I thought it might be a new species of Andinobates.”
However, Professor Andrew Crawford of the Universidad de los Andes did some DNA sequencing on the newly discovered dart frog and actually found that it was an entirely different and new species. And to preserve this new bright orange dart frog from threats, a press release states that “A. geminisae is included in the captive breeding program of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation project, a consortium of six zoos and research institutions dedicated to saving amphibians from the chytrid fungal disease, which is decimating amphibians worldwide, and habitat loss.”