Scientists discover 8 new frogs in one sanctuary

A new species discovered in the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary: Pseudophilautus sirilwijesundarai. Photo by: L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Two studies in the forests of Sri Lank’s Peak Wilderness Sanctuary have uncovered eight new frog species. While every year over a hundred new amphibians are discovered, eight new discoveries in a single park is very rare.

The eight new species aren’t the only discovery from the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, which has been dubbed a World Heritage Site. A paper by L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe, with the Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka and his team recently announced the re-discovery of the starry shrub frog (Pseudophilautus stellatus), which had not been seen for 160 years and was believed to be extinct.

However most of the species, including the starry shrub frog, should be listed as Critically Endangered, according to the scientists. Habitat loss, small hydropower plants, and pollution from visiting tourists are some of the major threats to these long-hidden frogs.

Experts say that are one third of the world’s amphibians are currently threatened due mostly to habitat loss, pollution, and diseases which has likely been spread by humans and exotic frogs. Scientists think that around 130 amphibians have gone extinct since 1980, about 20 of which were found in Sri Lanka.

“There are many more [new species] to be published this is just a fraction of what remains to be uncovered,” Wickramasinghe told Mongabay.com. Stay tuned.

New species: Pseudophilautus bambaradeniyai. Photo by: L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.
Pseudophilautus jagathgunawardanai. Photo by: L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.
Pseudophilautus puranappu. Photo by: L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.
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