Rare genetic mutation turns green frog blue


Scientists in the West Australia have found a tree frog that is bright blue, instead of the usual green color, due to a rare genetic mutation.

The beautiful blue tree frog was spotted this week in the Charnley River-Artesian Range Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kimberley region, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) reported this week.

According to AWC, this is the first time a blue color mutation has been identified in this beautiful tree frog.

“It was dark when we first saw it, sitting on a bench in the workshop near our research center,” Jake Barker, a field ecologist at AWC, said in a statement Monday.

“It was very exciting. Beautiful tree frogs are spectacular, but seeing a blue one is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

According to Jodi Rowley, curator of amphibian and reptile conservation biology at the Australian Museum, this type of mutation is extremely rare.

“Very occasionally, the yellow pigment is missing from the skin of a green frog, resulting in a completely or mostly blue frog,” the statement said.

“I’ve seen tens of thousands of frogs over the years, and only one blue frog – and it wasn’t nearly as spectacular as this beautiful tree frog. A rare encounter and one that highlights the spectacular diversity of Australian frogs.”

The Beautiful Tree Frog, or Litoria splendida, is found only in the northern Kimberley and nearby parts of the Northern Territory of Australia. It grows to about 12 centimetres (4.7 in) in length, making it one of the largest amphibian species in the country.

“This is one of many endemic species from the Northwest that we see here quite regularly,” Barker said in the statement.

“They are nowhere else to be found. That is the great thing about working in the Kimberley: you never know what rare wildlife you are going to see every day.”

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