Darwin in Metropolis..

I was amused to learn that scientists have determined a unique and previously unrecognized species of Leopard Frog has been residing here in the tri-state region, “Croaking away in plain sight,” according to the New York Times.

Most times, when you hear about the discovery of a new species, it’s from somewhere remote and exotic, usually some mountain or rainforest on the far end of the globe. But this amphibian’s home territory falls in and around New York City. They’ve got ’em in Staten Island. They’ve got ’em in the Meadowlands, in Connecticut  — in fact, if you stuck a pin in the center of their limited range, it would fall not far from Yankee Stadium, though so far none have been spotted in the Bronx.  And these frogs are nothing new — they’ve been around for years, and I’m sure I probably caught my fair share as a kid — but they so closely resemble another species, the Southern Leopard Frog, that they were believed to be one and the same. It wasn’t until a scientist noticed that their vocalizations were quite distinct and different that they took a closer look and found the two frogs had completely different genetic lineages. Apparently, (thought not surprisingly for anyone who lives around here,) southern frogs have a different croak than ones living in commuting distance of NYC.  I guess we wouldn’t know the difference, that’s just what our frogs sound like. (Tri-State frog: “Accent? Whad’a you talkin’ about? I don’t got an accent. You got an accent!”)

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