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IWU Biologist Finds New Frog On Andean Mountain

An Illinois Wesleyan University biologist has let the world know about a previously unknown kind of fleshbelly frog.

It isn't the first new species Edgar Lehr has discovered. But, that didn't lessen the thrill when he saw it about ten thousand feet up on the side of a mountain in the Pui Pui forest preserve in the Andes.

"I have a little experience in the high elevation of the Andes working in Peru. So I know how the known species look and it looked totally different," said Lehr.

It's called Attenborough's Rubber Frog. Lehr said he wanted to name the frog for Sir David Attenborhough, the famed nature documentary maker. 16 other species have been named for Attenborough, but Lehr says this is the first amphibian.

"And he has done very good movies about frogs and pointed out their critical situation in the world," said Lehr.

Lehr said frogs have been seen as high as the snowline of mountains in addition to lowland swamps. He says they are the canary in the coal mine for global climate change because of their sensitivity to temperature and many species of amphibians are showing stress from rising temperatures.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.