The World Has a New Toad

Rhinella yunga lives in Peru, sans eardrums

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 22, 2014 2:35 PM CST

(Newser) – Scientists have discovered a new species of toad, but there's a good reason it took so long to find—from above, this one looks for all the world like a dead leaf. Rhinella yunga lives in the Peruvian Andes, specifically in the region known as the Yungas, reports the Guardian. It escapes notice by hanging out on forest floors among dead leaves, and smartly so: The toad not only has the right coloring, it has "bony protusions" that make it look more leaf-like, reports Nature World News.

It turns out that this particular species had been mistakenly lumped in with a cousin toad for years, but Rhinella yunga has something unique going on: It lacks eardrums, reports LiveScience. That doesn't necessarily mean that the toad can't hear or communicate effectively, only that scientists haven't figured out how it does so. For example, this frog also lacks eardrums but manages the nifty trick of hearing through its mouth.

Say hello to Rhinella yunga.   (Jiri Moravec/ZooKeys)
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