Rare frog is a riveting discovery for Blackpool museum worker

A newly discovered species of frog may originate in the rainforests of Ecuador '“ but it can trace its name right back here to the Fylde coast.

Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 1:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 2:08 pm
Sylvia's Tree Frog was named after the granddaughter of the man who discovered it

Following a case of mistaken identity, the brightly coloured amphibian was hiding in plain sight for decades until it was spotted by Blackpool-born conservationist Andrew Gray.

Now, after 20 years of painstaking research, he has finally been able to identify the creature as a rare new species – one he has named after his three-year-old granddaughter Sylvia.

Mr Gray, curator of herpetology at Manchester Museum, said his love of frogs began at a very young age, recalling: “I spent many hours in Ashton Gardens in St Annes as a child, looking for frogs, newts and tadpoles, rather than playing football.

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Sylvia Gray, three, with the frog that was named after her

“I had all the other kids in the park looking for frogs.”

Now the 54-year-old former Highfield School pupil, who grew up in South Shore, may have found a rather unusual way to inspire his granddaughter to take an interest too.

He said Sylvia, who lives near Chorley, was “thrilled” to learn the frog was named after her.

Mr Gray added: “She’s only young but she absolutely loves the frog.”

He said the new species – Sylvia’s Tree Frog – has been known to scientists for almost 100 years but until recently had been confused for another.

But once he realised the error, he set about putting the record straight.

“I’ve been back to Ecuador many times,” he said.

“It’s taken me 20 years to get a specimen. They are very hard to find.”