Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Cool new frog named after Led Zeppelin

Pristimantis ledzeppelin was discovered over the hills and far away in southeast Ecuador

Led Zeppelin performing in 1973, unaware they were inspiring future frog scientists in the process.
Led Zeppelin performing in 1973, unaware they were inspiring future frog scientists in the process.
Screenshot: Nea Zixnh

There’s nothing quite like New Frog Day. No matter how determined we, as a species, are to totally destroy the natural world, scientists keep managing to find previously unidentified amphibians that have somehow hung on long enough for us to snatch them up and name them after musicians like Ozzy Osbourne, Sting, and Freddie Mercury. Now, in what may be the only New Frog Day of the month, we have Pristimantis ledzeppelin, a slimy little guy from southeast Ecuador named after the English band responsible for roughly half of all classic rock radio programming.

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Pristimantis ledzeppelin or “Led Zeppelin’s Rain Frog” was discovered in a mountainous region called Cordillera del Cóndo where, as Vice reports, it was spotted hanging out on shrubs above bodies of water by scientists David Brito-Zapata and Carolina Reyes-Puig. (Considering it also goes by “Rain Frog,” we have to wonder if there was an argument between the two scientists, one of whom had to compromise after wanting to name it Pristimantis tomwaitssecondbestalbum.)

To our untrained eyes, the frog just sort of looks like most other frogs who live around the world, trying to avoid being trampled under foot by (um, misty mountain?) hopping from forest to swamp. It’s most remarkable feature, to those of us who can’t pick out its “distinctive scapular fold,” is a pair of red eyes, which help set it apart from the 569 other frogs that belong to the Pristimantis genus.

In the article describing Led Zeppelin’s Rain Frog, Brito-Zapata and Reyes-Puig point out that its habitat, the Cordillera del Cóndor, is “part of one of the most threatened eco-regions in the world” and that “it is important to consider new long-term initiatives for small vertebrate conservation actions” if we want to safeguard species like the Rain Frog.

Our hope is that these conservation actions are taken—and that the Zeppelin frog acts like a 1970s stadium rock band and manages to produce so many children it can’t possibly keep track of them all, thus avoiding the fate of the nearly unfuckable frogs of years past.

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