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A herpetologist named Paul Oliver from the Queensland Museum and Griffith University in Australia is the one who discovered this unique species. The amphibians were discovered way back in 2008 deep inside Indonesia’s Foja Mountains. “You could say it found us, rather than we found it,” says Oliver, who officially described the new species, Litoria Pinocchio, in the latest issue of Zootaxa.

This unique species is just a handful of New Guinea treefrogs that are in the same genus. These frogs like the Pinocchio frog have spiked noses also called rostrums. There are a few other species described by Oliver and his team in a recent paper that is also with Zootaxa.


According to the Smithsonian:

“It’s pretty obvious how we came up with the name Litoria pinocchio,” Oliver says in a Griffith University press release. “It refers to the distinctive spike between the frog’s nostrils.”

The newly named species is one of several Litoria tree frogs with a protruding nose. As Charles Q. Choi writes for Live Science, the rod-like structure points upward when the male is vocalizing but “deflates and points downward” when he is inactive. It’s possible the shift occurs in tandem with attempts to attract females, Oliver says to National Geographic, but previous research on “breeding choruses of spike-nose frogs” has shown no “pattern in the lengths of spikes on the males the females” choose for mating.

Meilan Solly

“It’s pretty obvious how we came up with the name Litoria pinocchio – it refers to the distinctive spike between the frog’s nostrils,” said Dr. Paul Oliver of Griffiths University, senior curator of Queensland Museum and lead author of the study.

The most likely reason for the unique feature to this tree frog seems to be in order to attract females for reproduction and to differentiate itself in the richly diverse species within the New Guinean forests. It is said there are roughly 500 species identified in the forests of New Guinea which has more frog species than any island on our planet.

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