New species of frog in Panama named after environmentalist Greta Thunberg

Scientists have named a new species of rainfrog after Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg after finding it on a mountainous sky island in the tropical rainforests of Panama.

A study published recently in the scientific journal ZooKeys describes the Pristimantis gretathunbergae, a newly discovered frog with “unusually prominent black eyes” that is unique to Central American rainfrogs.

The species was discovered during an expedition led by Abel Batista of Panama and Konrad Mebert of Switzerland.

The Rainforest Trust auctioned off naming rights for the new frog for the organization’s 30th anniversary. The winner wanted to honour Thunberg and her work raising awareness and demanding action on climate change.

The researchers couldn’t agree more.

“Greta Thunberg represents the authentic voice that exposes the motivations behind the diplomatic curtain of politicians and business stakeholders,” the authors wrote. “Her voice is essential if we want to revert to and maintain a healthy environment on the planet we all share, and not least, learn to respect its magnificent mega-diversity of life that took millions of years to evolve.”

The new species of rain frog named after Greta Thunberg is seen her guarding her eggs. Photo: ZooKeys

Finding the frog was no easy feat.

“The team found the frog on Cerro Chucantí, a sky island surrounded by lowland tropical rainforest in eastern Panama,” the Rainforest Trust said in statement. “Reaching its habitat in the cloud forest required access via horseback through muddy trails, hiking up steep slopes, bypassing two helicopters that crashed decades ago, and camping above the 1000m elevation.”

Its habitat is “highly threatened by rapid deforestation and replaced by plantations and cattle pastures,” according to researchers.  

The scientists say there are at least 13 pristimantis frogs known to live in Panama.

But as a flagship species, the scientists say this new frog could help to preserve the Chucantí cloud forest as well as several other recently described species known only from this isolated area in eastern Panama.

A female Greta Thunberg frog with eggs about to hatch. Photo: ZooKeys

“Rainforest Trust is deeply honored to sponsor the naming of this exquisite and threatened Panamanian frog species for Greta Thunberg. Greta more than anyone reminds us that the future of every species on Earth depends on what we do right now to end climate change,” Rainforest Trust CEO James Deutsch said in a statement.

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.