Sporting a spur on its heel, the aptly named cowboy frog is 1 of 46 potentially new species found during recent expeditions in the tiny South American country of Suriname, scientists announced this week.
The surveys, which documented nearly 1,300 species, were part of Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), which typically sends small teams of scientists into remote habitats for intense, monthlong surveys.
Despite two decades of surveys, RAP has "a long way to go and not enough time," program director Trond Larsen said by email.
"It's imperative that we understand which species exist and where they live if we are to prevent them from becoming extinct."
Photograph courtesy Paul Ouboter via Conservation International
Glittery Water Beetle
Glittering emerald and blue, this water beetle species of the Oocyclus genus (pictured) found in Venezuela is similar to Oocylcus trio, a new species found in Suriname on the recent RAP. Oocyclus beetles live only amid waterfalls and wet rocks on mountains and rocky outcrops.
In addition to identifying species, survey scientists also worked with a Suriname indigenous group, the Trio, to create a management plan for the 44,500-acre (18,000-hectare) Werehpai/Iwana Samu Protected Area, which was established in 2007.
Local communities are now hoping to bring ecotourism to the region, "one of the last remaining areas of vast, unroaded wilderness," according to Conservation International.
Photograph courtesy Andrew Short via Conservation International
Pictured licking its eyeball, a turnip-tailed gecko was among the known species recorded during the Suriname expedition. Like many gecko species, the reptile has vertical elliptical pupils and no eyelids—and so uses its tongue as a sort of windshield wiper.
Photograph courtesy Piotr Naskrecki via Conservation International
A potentially new species of armored catfish (pictured) is covered in spines to defend against piranhas. A local guide was about to snack on the fish when scientists intervened and preserved it as a scientific specimen.
Larsen, the RAP director, similarly lost out on a meal, he wrote in his field notes.
"After lugging 97 kilos [214 pounds] of canned sauerkraut deep into the heart of the Surinamese rain forest, I decided it was my duty to catch a fish or two," he wrote.
He promptly caught a striped catfish that, while not new to science, hadn't yet been documented by the expedition.
"The specimen was preserved for the museum collection, leaving my dinner plate free for extra sauerkraut atop my rice that evening."
Photograph courtesy Kenneth Wang Tong via Conservation International
"Spectacular" Conehead Katydid
A "spectacular" specimen of the conehead katydid species, previously identified in the Peruvian Amazon, was also spotted in Suriname—majorly expanding the species' range, according to Conservation International.
During the surveys, scientists bumped into creatures even when they weren't looking.
"Entering my tent on the first night, I was surprised to find my sleeping bag already occupied by a bullet ant, a gigantic insect named after its devastating sting that causes constant throbbing pain for 24 hours," Larsen said in his field notes.