February 3, 2009

New amphibian species found in Colombia

Colombian scientists say they've discovered 10 new species of amphibians in the mountainous Tacarcuna area near the border with Panama.

The newly discovered species include a spiky-skinned, orange-legged rain frog, three poison dart frogs and three glass frogs, so called because their transparent skin can reveal internal organs.

The scientists, led by herpetologists from Conservation International in Colombia and ornithologists from the Ecotropico Foundation, identified approximately 60 species of amphibians, 20 reptiles and nearly 120 species of birds, many of them apparently found nowhere else.

Colombia has one of the most diverse amphibian communities in the world, with 754 species currently recorded, the researchers said.

Once more we confirm we are leaders in natural diversity and not only in our region, but in the world. Without a doubt this discovery represents a great milestone for science and human health, said Juan Lozano, Colombia's Minister of Environment.

The scientists said the findings are expected to contribute to strengthening the protected area status that applies to nearly all the Colombian Darien region, and to help bring about the declaration of a new protected area in the Tacarcuna hills.