Scientists have just discovered three brand new species of toad, the first time a new toad has been discovered in 50 years in the U.S.
A truly staggering discovery in several areas in Nevada is making headlines across the scientific community. For the first time in the last 50 years in the United States we’ve discovered a new species of toad, and even better, we’ve found three new species, although time may be running out to save them.
Conservationists are rushing to prepare an emergency petition to protect one of the new species, the Dixie Valley toad. This species was first found in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until 2014 that it was identified as a new species. They are just 2 inches long, have bumpy skin, and a colored black, brown, and green. They are found in a marsh just 2 square miles in Dixie Valley.
The other two toads, the Hot Creek toad and Railroad Valley toad, were found in separate areas across central Nevada. All three were discovered thanks to a decade long survey of the region with DNA studies and “shape” metrics.
“We’ve found the toads in small, wet habitats surrounded by high-desert completely cut off from other populations,” Dick Tracy, a renowned biology professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lead scientist on the project, said. “These are absolutely new, true species that have been separated from other populations for 650,000 years.”
“The Dixie Valley toad is a pretty toad, with flecks of gold on an olive background,” Tracy, a long-time professor in the biology department of the College of Science, said. “It’s not like the big, common green toads you might find in other marshes around the west or even in Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno.”