A new species of frog has been discovered in North Queensland by a University of Newcastle researcher but is under threat from the effects of global warming.
Co-discoverer Dr Michael Mahony from the University of Newcastle estimated that the new species of frog discovered could be under threat of extinction.
Mixophyes Carbinensis, is found only in the cool temperate high altitude rainforests of the Carbine Tablelands north of Cairns, an area increasingly affected by global warming.
Dr Mahony said plant and animal communities in restricted geographic areas near climatic extremes would disappear because warming would most rapidly impact on these areas.
"Even with moderate predictions of global warming, the species' habitat will disappear before 2050," Dr Mahony said.
"The frog species is unable to migrate to other sites because of the high altitude of the habitat and will not be able to adapt to the warming of the environment, which is occurring at an unprecedented pace."
The Mixophyes Carbinensis species was discovered with another new frog species, Mixophyes Coggeri. Both belong to a group of frogs known as Barred Frogs.
The barred frogs, so named because of their distinctive barring across their arms and legs, are Australia's largest frogs, reaching more than 14 centimetres in length.
Dr Mahony and his team used extensive field surveys and laboratory techniques which examine and compare the genes of the animals, to discover the two new species.
The researchers' studies revealed there is a greater species diversity of barred frogs in the wet tropics rainforest than previously known.
"The rainforests of the wet tropics covers a tiny proportion of Australia - less than one per cent - yet they contain the highest animal diversity of all Australian habitats," Dr Mahony said.
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