September 22, 2010

Researchers Locate Trio Of Lost Amphibian Species

Three long-lost species of frogs and lizards thought extinct have been re-discovered by scientists who are on a global hunt for "lost" amphibians, according to a Wednesday press release from Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG).

The Cave Splayfoot Salamander, the Mount Nimba Reed Frog, and the Omaniundu Reed Frog are the three amphibians located by CI and ASG researchers, the groups are reporting.

The cave-dwelling salamander, or Chiropterotriton mosaueri, had not been seen since 1941 before being located recently in the Hidalgo Province of Mexico. The brown Mount Nimba Reed Frog (Hyperolius nimbae) was seen on the Ivory Coast for the first time since 1967, and the bright green Omaniundu Reed Frog (Hyperolius sankuruensis) was found in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the first time in more than three decades.

"These are fantastic finds and could have important implications for people as well as for amphibians," Dr. Robin Moore, the organizer of the 'Search for the Lost Frogs' expedition, said in a statement. "We don't know whether study of these animals could provide new medicinal compounds "“ as other amphibians have, and at least one of these animals lives in an area that is important to protect as it provides drinking water to urban areas. But these rediscovered animals are the lucky ones "“ many other species we have been looking for have probably gone for good."

Sean Rovito from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico was the researcher who discovered the Cave Splayfoot Salamander, while the two frogs were located by N'Goran Kouame from the University of Abobo-Adjame and Jos Kielgast from The Natural History Museum of Denmark, respectively, according to the joint press release. They are part of an expedition currently searching for some 100 lost amphibian species in 18 countries worldwide.

"It's pretty extraordinary to think about just how long it has been since these animals were last seen," added Moore. "The last time that the Mexican Salamander was seen Glen Miller was one of the world's biggest stars, while the Mount Nimba Reed Frog hasn't been seen since the year the Beatles released Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band and the Omaniundu Reed Frog disappeared the year that Sony sold its first ever Walkman."


Image Caption: Last seen in 1979. Beautiful frog with bright green "“ almost fluorescent looking "“ spots on a dark brown background. Rediscovered by Jos Kielgast from The Natural History Museum of Denmark. Credit: Jos Keilgast


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