The poison dart frog Ranitomeya amazonica is one of more than 1,200 new species of plants and vertebrates discovered in the Amazon rain forest between 1999 and 2009, the international conservation group WWF announced Tuesday in a new report highlighting the region’s biodiversity.
At least 17 percent of the Amazon has been cleared to make room for cattle or crops that are grown for animal feed and biofuels, WWF says. The wildlife group is calling for greater species protection in the face of increasing development pressure.
R. amazonica, which sports a burst of “flame” on its head and water-patterned legs, was discovered in 1999 in moist lowland forests. The new species’ primary threats include land clearing and collection for the wildlife trade, WWF reports.