Scientists on a global quest to rediscover
"lost" amphibian species have returned from their first set of expeditions
having rediscovered three species that had not been seen for decades,
Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG)
LEARN MORE: The Search for the
Searches are continuing around the globe for 100 species of amphibians that
had been thought to have gone extinct, but that scientists believe may be
surviving in small populations. While the discoveries are a cause for
celebration as the world prepares for the Convention on Biological Diversity
(CBD) that will be held in Nagoya, Japan next month, they also highlight the
shocking decline in the world's amphibian species in recent decades, with more
than a third of all amphibians threatened with extinction.
The three animals that have been rediscovered so far include a Mexican
salamander not seen since it was discovered in 1941, a
frog from the Ivory Coast not seen since 1967 and another frog
from Democratic Republic of Congo not seen since 1979.
Dr. Robin Moore, who has organized the Search for the Lost Frogs for CI and
the ASG said: "These are fantastic finds and could have important implications
for people as well as for amphibians. 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
The rediscovered animals are:
Splayfoot Salamander (Chiropterotriton
Hidalgo Province, Mexico.
Not seen since
the discovery of a single individual in 1941. Pink footed, brown salamander that
is believed to live underground in cave systems. Several were found by scientist
Sean Rovito from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, in a cave system
which is only accessible by abseiling down a large pothole.
Nimba Reed Frog (Hyperolius nimbae)
Last Seen in 1967. Small and well camouflaged brown frog rediscovered by
local scientist N'Goran Kouame from the University of
Reed Frog (Hyperolius sankuruensis)
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.
Dr. Moore added: "It's pretty extraordinary to think about just how long it
has been since these animals were last seen. 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."
The first phase of the Search for the Lost Frogs campaign will be continuing
until the opening of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya,
Japan in October, with further rediscoveries expected.