University of Newcastle researchers have helped to identify a new species of frog, one of only two known species to store tadpoles on their bodies.
The Assa wollumbinsp.nov. species was found in Wollumbin National Park in northern NSW and had been living undiscovered high in the cool forest.
Researchers from the Newcastle university as well as the South Australian Museum identified the 16mm frog as distinct from its close relation, another 'hip-pocket' or pouched frog Assa darlingtoni, following genetic analysis.
The tiny population is confined to around 2,000ha on Wollumbin Mountain (Bundjalung name for Mount Warning) in the Wollumbin National Park, and is within the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
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University of Newcastle's Dr Michael Mahony was one of the researchers who described the species and said it was an exciting find.
"The hip-pocket frog is not only unique for its amazing breeding biology among Australian frogs, but it is also unique among frogs of the world, since there are only four of the 4000 species worldwide that have male parental care where the male carries its developing tadpoles," Dr Mahony said.
The NSW government has declared the habitat an Asset of Intergenerational Significance under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
Research revealed the new species is likely to meet the criteria for a 'critically endangered' listing due to its specific habitat needs and restricted distribution.
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