February 16, 2011
Unprecedented search evidence of 'Sixth Great Extinction'.
The Search for Lost Frogs conducted by Conservation International (CI), the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), hoped to find species whose status remained unknown. The unprecedented search did uncover surviving populations of the Cave Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton mosaueri) of Mexico (not seen since 1941), the Mount Nimba Reed Frog (Hyperolius nimbae) of Ivory Coast (last seen in 1967), and the Omaniundu Reed Frog (Hyperolius sankuruensis) of Democratic Republic of Congo (not seen since 1979). In addition the search announced today that it also rediscovered the Rio Pescado stubfoot toad of Ecuador (to read more about this discovery: Researchers rediscover one of the world's most sought-after lost frogs). This find was especially gratifying as the toad was the only rediscovered amphibian on the Search's Top Ten List (ranked number six). After being tipped off by a local community, the researchers found a single adult toad.
The rediscovered Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus balios) was number 6 in the 100 Lost Frogs. Uncovered after 15 years in Ecuador by Eduardo Toral-Contreras and Elicio Tapia. Researchers feared that the deadly amphibian chytridiomycosis had wiped out this species along with many other closely related species in Ecuador. Photo: © Eduardo Toral-Contreras.
But even if the search didn't rediscover as many amphibians as it hoped, the numerous expeditions—and even a copycat expedition—did uncover some intriguing surprises.
In Haiti six amphibians were rediscovered. These were not on the Search for Lost Frogs's 100 List, but the species had not been seen since the early 1990s. While no amphibians were re-discovered in Colombia, three species were found that are likely new to science.
While Search for Lost Frogs expeditions in India came up empty-handed. That didn't stop Indian researchers from making news. Inspired by the Search for Lost Frogs, Dr. SD Biju from the University of Delhi, organized the "Lost! Amphibians of India", which sent out expeditions to search for 50 missing amphibians in India. They rediscovered five amphibians, including one that hadn't been seen since India was a British colony and Mahatma Gandhi was a child of five (1874).
"I was so excited to see the Chalazodes Bubble Nest Frog in life after 136 years. I have never seen a frog with such brilliant colors in my 25 years of research! It has an unusual combination of fluorescent green dorsum, ash blue thighs and patchy yellow eyes. I feel assured that these rediscoveries will infuse more enthusiasm in our pursuit of the remaining 45 ‘lost’ amphibians. Our hunt has just begun and it is a good start," Biju said in a press release.
Aside from India's ongoing efforts, searches are also scheduled to continue in Colombia.
"Searching for lost species is among the most important conservation activities we can do as scientists. If we're going to save them, we first have to find them," said Dr. Don Church, Global Wildlife Conservation’s President.
For the 96 target amphibians that weren't rediscovered, hope remains that a few may be found in the future. But for many, it is probably too late. Of course, in the coming decades many more amphibians will be lost if efforts aren't made to save them. Over 30 percent of the world's amphibians are currently threatened with extinction.
The Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog (Raorchestes chalazodes)was last seen in 1874! Rediscovered after 136 years. This striking fluorescent green frog with ash-blue thighs and black pupils with golden patches (highly unusual traits among amphibians) frog leads a secretive life, presumably inside reeds during the day. It is thought that the species does not have a free-swimming tadpole stage, but completes development inside the egg. Rediscovered by Ganesan R, Seshadri KS and SD Biju. Listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. Photo: © SD Biju.
Researchers rediscover one of the world's most sought-after lost frogs
(02/17/2011) The Search for Lost Frogs, a global expedition to uncover amphibian species not seen for decades, has uncovered one of the expedition's most sought-after species: the Pescado stubfoot toad (Atelopus balios). The discovery in Ecuador was one bright spot in a search that revealed more about the crisis and extinctions of frogs than it did about the hopefulness of finding cryptic communities. In total the expedition rediscovered 4 of its 100 targeted species.
Photos: 'Lost amphibian' search makes good: three 'extinct' species rediscovered
(09/22/2010) A search for 100 of the world's 'lost amphibians'—unseen for decades and in many cases supposed extinct—have turned up three species so far, one of which hasn't been recorded since the Nazis were bombing London. The lost amphibian expeditions, formed by Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), have found surviving populations of the cave splayfoot salamander (Chiropterotriton Mosaueri) in Mexico, the Mount Nimba reed frog (Hyperolius Nimbae) in the Ivory Coast, and the Omaniundu reed frog (Hyperolius sankuruensis) from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photos: world's top ten 'lost frogs'
(08/09/2010) The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Conservation International (CI) have sent teams of researchers to 14 countries on five continents to search for the world's lost frogs. These are amphibian species that have not been seen for years—in some cases even up to a century—but may still survive in the wild. Amphibians worldwide are currently undergoing an extinction crisis. While amphibians struggle to survive against habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and overexploitation, they are also being wiped out by a fungal disease known as chytridiomycosis.
Scientists hunt for 'lost frogs' around the globe
(08/09/2010) From now through October, teams of scientists will be scouring through leaf litters, in shallow pools, under rocks, and in tree trunks for the world's 'lost frogs'. Searching in 14 countries on five continents, the researchers are looking for some 100 species of frogs that have not been seen in decades and in some cases up to a century. While some of the species may well be extinct, researchers are holding out hope that they can find the ones that are still hanging on, albeit by a thread.