Nevada’s Great Basin revealed itself to be the habitat of three new species of toads that were previously unknown to science. The recently detected species are all rather small, and their colors differ slightly between them.
The three new toad species were named the Hot Creek toad, the Railroad Valley toad, and the Dixie Valley toad.
The discovery of the new species is among the results of a decade long survey of the Great Basin in Nevada. Led by Dick Tracey, the study examined 190,000 square miles of the ancient lake’s bottom.
“We’ve found the toads in small, wet habitats surrounded by high-desert completely cut off from other populations. These are absolutely new, true species that have been separated from other populations for 650,000 years,” stated Tracy.
He is the study’s lead author and a biology professor part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Together with his team, he conducted multiple tests to analyze the species. These, together with DNA analyses, helped find and provide evidence to support the fact that they are all new species.
Although closely related, they are nonetheless distinct from the Western toad, common across the western U.S. The new species are on the small size, being around 2 inches long when fully grown.
Three New Toad Species, but Already in Danger?
The Hot Creek toad was detected in the Hot Creek Mountain Range. Railroad Valley toads call home the Tonopah Basin in central Nevada. The Dixie Valley toad was spotted and resides only in Churchill County. It lives in an isolated spring-fed marsh which is no more than four square miles big.
Discovering three new toad species came as a surprise as even one new discovery is a rare thing. The last newly discovered species was detected in 1985. According to reports, the previously discovered toad species, the Wyoming toad, was found in 1968. It is presently extinct.
These latest discoveries were also noted to be under threat. The Dixie Valley toad is reportedly “a good candidate for an Endangered Species Act listing.”
However, the marsh in which it resides might be dried up, which might threaten the species’ survival. A paper about this particular species was released earlier this month in Zootaxa.
Image Source: Pixabay