Scientists Discover 60 New Species In South America, Including The Cocoa Frog (PHOTOS)By Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Halloween may have a new mascot.
Meet the recently-discovered Cocoa Frog, whose fudge irises look out from a milk chocolate body supported by webbed toes of dripping dark chocolate. Only the innards of its large black eyes look inedible.
According to The Guardian, scientists believe they've discovered 60 new species following a research trip to the South American country of Suriname in the summer of 2012. The team of scientists summarized their research in a report here (includes photos of some truly exotic species).
In total, expeditionists documented 1,378 species in the remote southeast region of Suriname, an area remarkable free of human influence, according to the The Guardian.
"There are very few places left on Earth that are as pristine and untouched as this region," the scientists conclude in their report.
In addition to the usual batch of insects discovered on such expeditions, researchers found 11 new species of fish, one never been seen before snake, and six scientifically-fresh frogs, including the Cocoa frog.
The chocolate-y frog was more than just a novelty find.
"With many frog species rapidly disappearing around the globe, we were surprised and uplifted to discover so many frogs potentially new to science, including a stunningly sleek 'cocoa' tree frog," Dr. Trond Larsen, a field biologist from the journey, told The Guardian.
Besides resembling a Harry Potter treat, the Cocoa frog appears to behave in typical froggish ways.
"It lives on trees," The Guardian wrote, "using the round discs on its fingers and toes to climb."
Larsen called it an "especially heartening" find.
Despite the isolated nature of the area, researchers discovered traces of human influence. Water samples revealed unnatural levels of Mercury.
"This demonstrates that even the most isolated and pristine parts of the world are not entirely sheltered from human impacts - all systems are interconnected," Larsen told The Guardian.