Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of frog in border areas between Colombia and Venezuela.
The multi-colored frog, which also has a distinctive song, was found in the Perija mountain range shared by the two countries over the past decade.
The new species, living in rivers and cascades at altitudes above 1,000 meters, has been named Hyloscirtus japreria in honor of the Japreria, a disappearing indigenous ethnic group in the Perija in the northwestern Venezuelan state of Zulia.
News of the discovery of this species was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Zootaxa last month, bringing to 37 the number of species identified as belonging to the Hyloscirtus genus.
The males of these small-sized frogs measure between 2.8 and 3.2 centimeters in length and the females from 3.5 to 3.9 centimeters.
The journey that led to their discovery began in 2008.
"Several years went by before we found enough evidence that it was a new species," said biologist Fernando Rojas-Runjaic, the coordinator of the study, adding that the team determined it was a "stream frog, we had to verify that it wasnít a Hyloscirtus platydactylus, another species found in the Perija in 1994."
The scientists recorded the find with cameras and high-definition sound recorders to capture its distinctive coloring and analyze its song.
The H. japreria is also characterized by a pale yellow dorsal area with tiny dark brown spots and small reddish brown smudges.
Access to the mountain range from Colombia was restricted for decades because of a conflict with leftist guerrillas, "which produced information vacuums," said Fabio Meza-Joya, a Colombian biologist, adding that last yearís peace agreement "opened a window to go into areas that were inaccessible."
Back in 2016, Columbiaís Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a landmark peace deal with the Colombian government to lay down arms and end its bloody 52-year fight against Bogota. Meza-Joya said the historic peace deal not only made the discovery possible but should open the way for new discoveries.
He further said that amphibians are fundamental to ecosystems, acting as regulators of insect populations that can be vectors of disease.
"Some species show marked vulnerability to environmental change so they are considered excellent indicators of the health of ecosystems," Meza-Joya added.