Prague A new genus of reed frog has been discovered in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by a team from Czech scientist Václav Gvoždík. The genus is called Congolius (a frog from the Congo) and its research and description has been supported primarily through molecular biology, according to the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AS) announced today. According to the AV, description of a new genus of frog in Africa is relatively rare, the last time it occurred seven years ago. Gvoždík works at the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ÚBO) and the National Museum.
DNA isolation and phylogenetic analysis were used to reveal the sex, which indicated how the species evolved and who its ancestor was. Gvo Gdík and doctoral students Tadeáš Nečas and Gabriel Badjedjea also performed a morphological analysis, including research into bone shape and size. They used microcomputer tomography for this.
According to morphological analysis, Congolius is likely an example of so-called convergent evolution. These frogs appear very similar to another genus of frog, specifically Hyperolius, but they are not related. According to scientists, the similarity is due to adaptation to living conditions. Other cases like this, for example, whales, which belong to mammals but resemble fish, or the ability to fly in bats – also mammals.
“According to the available but very modest material in the museums of the world, we drew a detailed overview of the species and it appears that Congolese is actually endemic to central Congo, south of the Congo River,” said Gvoydek. Likewise, bonobo chimpanzees have proliferated. Scientists also met him during frog research.
Discoveries of a Czech scientist in the Congo
Gvoždík has already made many similar discoveries. In the past, for example, he discovered a forgotten species of crocodile in the Congo, and last year he and his colleagues published the results of a study in which they described two new endangered species of frog living in Cameroon.
“Our discovery brings new insights into the evolution of reed frogs, and it also indicates a lack of knowledge about the biological diversity of hard-to-reach forests in central Congo,” said Gvodek. The remoteness of the sites in central Congo was the greatest obstacle to the research. “From the starting point in Kisangani, we rushed into the area along the narrow, waterlogged forest paths on motorcycles for four days. I always had to take ibuprofen every night because my body was broken.” “Of course, in the whole area, not only in the jungle, there is no electricity network and no telephone signal – for three weeks we cut off contact with the world,” he added.
According to scientists, the diversity of different species in Central Africa is still largely undescribed. “At the same time, local ecosystems are under great pressure from many foreign companies – especially Chinese – but also multinational companies interested in mining. Deforestation is widespread due to logging, but mineral mining, including rare minerals such as diamonds and gold, is widespread. Coltan is widespread. ” “Therefore, prior knowledge of biological diversity, as long as it has been present, is also necessary to support nature conservation. The scientist concluded that frogs are often also indicators of relatively healthy water resources.”