"Extinct" frog rediscovered in Colombia
May 18, 2006
Researchers exploring a Colombian mountain range found surviving members of a species of Harlequin frog believed extinct due to a killer fungus wiping out amphibian populations in Central and South America.
Professor Carlos Rocha and a team of researchers from the Pedagogical and Technological University of Boyacá - UTPC supported by Conservation International, the Darwin Initiative and the Fund for Environmental Action and Childhood made the discovery in early May in the deserts of Sarna and Toquilla in Boyacá in eastern Colombia.
The painted frog, which is found only in the deserts of Colombia's highlands, was last seen in 1995 in the area of Siscunsi, in the same region as Boyacá. After 11 years without a sighting, scientists considered the species extinct because of a lethal skin fungus, known as chytridiomycosis, and other hazards threatening the survival of a third of all amphibian species around the world.
© Carlos Rocha/UPTC
The Atelopus ebenoides marinkellei was last seen in the same region of Boyacá in 1995.
Climate change is killing frogs finds new research January 11, 2006
The dramatic global decline of amphibians may be directly connected to global warming warns a new study published in the journal Nature. Looking at a group of frogs found in biodiversity hotspots in Central and South America, scientists found links between higher temperatures and frog extinctions caused by a skin fungus. The infectious skin disease—a type of chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)—is now found in frog populations around the world and is the main suspect in the rapid disappearance of amphibians.
6 species of frogs discovered in Laos April 20, 2006 - Six new species of frogs have been discovered in the Southeast Asia nation of Lao PDR, according to the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Three newly discovered frog species are described in the recent issue of Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Herpetologists and Ichthyologists. WCS says that little is known about the new frogs, other than the location they were found and how the compare morphologically to similar species.
Fungus may be devastating amphibian populations worldwide February 6, 2006 - What is killing the world's frogs and salamanders? Zoologist Karen R. Lips of Southern Illinois University Carbondale can't put the cuffs on just yet, but she says her research team has "narrowed the list of suspects" in what scientists call "enigmatic" declines — those that lack an obvious cause. Her most likely culprit is a hugely infectious disease caused by a fungus. In just four months — from mid-September of 2004 to mid-January of 2005 — Lips and her colleagues saw more than half the amphibian population of El Copé, Panama, sicken and die from this disease.
Conservation scientists want $404 million to save disappearing amphibians September 20, 2005 - Yesterday conservation scientists proposed a $404 million effort to preserve declining global amphibian poplations. The strategy would call for funding from governments, private institutions and individual donors to finance long-term research, protect critical habitats, reduce the trade in amphibians for food and pets, and establish captive breeding programs.
16% of frogs species in Sri Lanka may be gone, new survey finds July 2, 2005 - In a study published Thursday in Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, researchers confirmed the discovery of 35 new frog species in Sri Lanka over the past decade brining the number of frog species in the island country to 105. However, the survey found that 17 of these species have disappeared and at least another 11 face imminent extinction unless their habitat is protected.
Toad on brink of extinction, scientists race to study amphibian for bioactive compounds June 29, 2005 - Under the bright florescent lights of the reptile house in the Bronx Zoo of New York, a colorful exotic toad makes its final stand. Once gathering by the thousands at the waterfalls of the Kihansi Gorge of Tanzania, the population of the Kihansi Spray Toad now stands at less than 200 individuals. The hasty construction of a desperately needed dam, built with good intentions by the World Bank, has relegated this species to the edge of existence. A decade ago the Kihansi Spray Toad thrived in its thoroughly unique habitat, the waterfalls of the Kihansi River, part of ecosystem that is one of only 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots on the planet (Hotspots are regions noted for their extensive range of species in a very small area). The gorge is located in the Southern Udzungwa Mountains of South Central Tanzania, which possess the greatest biodiversity in all of Tanzania.
The painted frog is one of 110 species of a diverse group of neo-tropical amphibians that live mostly in Colombia. The country's amphibian population is considered among the most diverse on Earth and key in the conservation efforts to protect amphibian species worldwide. So far, 42 of the 113 species of Atelopus found in the Tropical Andes Hotspot that includes parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela have experienced population declines of up to 50 percent.
Frogs provide innumerable ecosystem services by consuming insects and serving as indicators of overall environmental health of an ecosystem. The disappearance of amphibians could cause numerous consequences, including an increase in illnesses such as malaria due to the disappearance of amphibians that feed on mosquitoes carrying the disease. An extinction crisis among amphibians indicates drastic environmental changes caused by human impact such as deforestation and global warming.
The research was conducted as part of the Atelopus Initiative, a regional program that monitors the state of amphibian populations in the Tropical Andes Hotspot. CI will work with partners on extending Atelopus conservation initiatives into Peru and Bolivia under the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan created in 2005 as result of the 2004 Global Amphibian Assessment.
Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments.
This is a modified news release from Conservation International.