Scientists find six new species of African clawed frog

2015-12-17 11:52
External morphology of subgenera Silurana and Xenopus. (PLOS)

External morphology of subgenera Silurana and Xenopus. (PLOS)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Miami - Scientists have discovered six new kinds of African clawed frog, boosting the number of known species by 30 percent and offering new avenues for research on human disease, said a study on Wednesday.

The creatures are the "most widely studied amphibians in the world," and now there are 29 known clawed frog species instead of just 22, according to the study in PLOS ONE.

African clawed frogs share a close evolutionary relationship with humans and are often used in biomedical research, including those involving genetic studies and cancer.

The amphibians sport unusual claws on their first three toes, and reside in slow moving or stagnant water in west and central sub-Saharan Africa.

Their bodies are flatter than those of other frogs, and they have no tongues or teeth but vocal organs which can produce sound underwater.

The new species were not found during trips out in the field, but rather by scientists analyzing existing frogs in 168 different museum collections "with new analytical techniques using DNA, voice recordings, CT scanning of internal anatomy, chromosome analysis and more," said the study.

"Because the African clawed frog is used as a model organism for biological research, it would be understandable to think that scientists had already pinned down the number of species and other aspects of their diversity such as where they live and how they are related to one another," said Ben Evans, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the department of biology at McMaster University.

"But this isn't the case."

The new species of Xenopus are known as X. allofraseri, X. eysoole, X. fischbergi, X. kobeli, X. mellotropicalis, and X. parafraseri.

Knowing about these new species should help scientists advance their understanding of "broader questions related to genome duplication, gene silencing, and host-parasite co-evolution," said the study.

Read more on:    animals  |  research

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.