Thursday, January 1, 2015

After a thousand years, Jersey frog gets noticed, named

James O'Neil, environmental writer for The Record, tells us about a new discovery in the always fascinating NJ Meadowlands.

"For years now, late on spring nights, a small cadre of researchers has stepped into hip waders, flicked on headlamps and lugged recording equipment deep into the marshes of New Jersey. Then, they listened.

"The scientists, who study frogs that live in patches of wetland that most people don’t give a thought about, have developed an ability to distinguish the breeding calls of various species that fill the marsh nights with a grating cacophony. Recently, that unusual skill, combined with the tools of modern science, helped a team of Rutgers University researchers complete the identification of an entirely new frog species that has been living in the Meadowlands for millennia, near where turnpike Exit 16E sits today.
Atlantic Coast leopard frog
Jeremy Feinberg, left, a doctoral student at Rutgers University, and Erik Kiviat, executive director of Hudsonia, an environmental research institute, surveying a new species, the Atlantic Coast leopard frog.

"The team, led by Jeremy Feinberg, a Rutgers doctoral candidate, used genetic testing and bioacoustic analysis, along with observations from field biologists, to identify the Atlantic Coast leopard frog as a species distinct from the southern and northern leopard frogs.

"In fact, they have proved that the species lives not just in the Meadowlands, but also in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina.

Read the entire story here.

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