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New species of frog named after Manchester three-year-old

Conservationist Andrew Gray's granddaughter Sylvia with the frog named in her honour. Credit: University of Manchester

One of the world’s most spectacular frogs has been identified as a new species after 20 years of painstaking research at The University of Manchester.

Amphibian conservationist Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum, has named the creature Sylvia’s Tree Frog, Cruziohyla sylviae, after his three-year-old granddaughter.

The large colourful tree frog has remained under the radar of zoologists for almost 100 years.

Sylvia’s Tree Frog, Cruziohyla sylviae, was originally collected in Panama in 1925 but has been confused with the Splendid Tree Frog, Cruziohyla calcarifer, ever since.

Less than 50 specimens are known of that species and less than 150 specimens of Sylvia’s Tree Frog are recorded.

Andrew officially describes the frog as a separate species in the top zoological journal, Zootaxa.

“It’s remarkable that such a distinctive new species has remained undetected for such a long time.

“However, more importantly, this work highlights that an assessment of the conservation needs for each species is urgently required to ensure these amazing creatures are still around in another 100 years."

– Andrew Gray, The University of Manchester

“It’s a real privilege to be maintaining such rare frogs in our collection and supporting amphibian conservation around the planet.

“This multi-disciplined research highlights the importance of museum collections, where both live and historical specimens are aiding current taxonomy to make a real difference in shaping the future of wildlife conservation.”

– Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum