- (Photo: Twitter/O.Douglas Jennings)
New York City has just gotten a whole new species of urbanites. The leopard frog has been discovered in its home, sharing space with over 8 million residents.
According to H. Bradley Shaffer, a professor at UCLA, the new species is cause for much excitement.
"Here is a brand-new species, and it's not a species of bacteria or a barely visible insect," he told the New York Times. "It's a big amphibian and kids have probably been catching and playing with it for years. Even in an urban center like New York … there can be new species out there."
Jeremy Feinberg, a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolution at Rutgers University, discovered the species three years ago. He has concluded that the frog's natural habitat is on Staten Island, New Jersey, and central Connecticut.
"It's a very small range, and even if we went back 400 to 500 years, it probably would have been considered a rare animal," he told the New York Times.
What makes the New York species distinct from other species of leopard frogs? It's distinctive croak. Whereas southern leopard frog makes more of a chuckle when it croaks, this particular species makes a single clucking sound.
After researching the species for three years, Feinberg's observations and conclusions are ready for publication. New Yorkers are excited about the new members of the community.
"With all the human tragedy that seems to mount each day, the company of yet another species gives comfort," writes Times reader Eddie from Queens.
Several people have already offered to help name the frog, the honor of which falls to Feinberg.
"NY Leapfrog," suggests Marc Immerman. "With the NY in their usual way as in Yankees, Mets, Giants. Unless, of course, you also found them in Brooklyn, in which case the Brooklyn Leapfrogs would be appropriate," he added.
Feinberg has not revealed the name of the new species but says, "I've given it lots of thought. Part of me has always wanted to call these New York leopard frogs, but I think people in New Jersey and Connecticut will protest. I have to balance the politics with the naming."