Extinct toad rediscovered after hiding for 133 years in Sri Lanka

A post from the 18th of June on Mongabay.com reports on the rediscovery of a long thought extinct toad species in Sri Lanka. This was written by Jeremy Hance from Mongabay.com.

A small toad not seen since 1876, and considered by many to be extinct, has been rediscovered in a stream in Sri Lanka. First recorded in 1872, the Kandyan dwarf toad had (Adenomus kandianus) vanished for over a century before being found by scientists during a survey in 2009 in the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, according to a new paper in Zootaxa. (more…)

Discovery of a remarkable new species: the yellow-dyer frog

About three weeks ago Mongabay reported on the discovery of a new species of golden frog, Diasporus citrinobapheus, with a title that could not be surpassed by me: “New frog species leaves scientists’ fingers yellow”. They are referring to the discovery by Hertz and three other German based researchers that was published in ZooKeys. This new species of golden frog is a very beautifully yellow-coloured addition to the catalogue of wonderful frog species that are known to science. Just as the rediscovery of the Bornean rainbow toad and the tiny frogs Paedophryne amauensis and Paedophryne swiftorum I reported earlier on, it is an impressive testimony of the diversity and beauty of frogs. Diasporus citrinobapheus (more…)

Wonderful world: gastric brooding frog

Redmond O’ Hanlon recently made a number of documentaries in which he walked in the footsteps of mostly 19th century adventurers who had the bravery and zest to explore the unexplored, like Prezwalski and Fawcett. In the intro to every episode he explained that friends told him he ‘had been born in the wrong century’ and should have lived in an era when all significant explorations still had to be done. I empathize with his words, because I remember reading when I was young a book about the great explorers of all time, amongst others Orellano, Livingston and Scott, and adoring the romantic vibe that comes with going where no man has ever gone before. Even though, for example in the case of Scott, the ending wasn’t that glorious, it still seemed to me such a thrill to have been there. So i can understand this romantic feeling of wanting to be in some other time and place. I myself would love  to know what discoveries will be made in coming centuries and how far from the truth we are now with our current scientific theories, but alas I will never know… And at the same time I also regret not having been able to see dinosaurs, moa’s and other legendary creatures from the past. It’s the same feeling of regret I had when i first heard about the gastric brooding frog and its extinction. The genus of gastric brooding frogs (presumably) disappeared from the wild a couple of  years after I was brought into this world and actually the Southern gastric breeding frogRheobatrachus silus, disappeared a year before I was born and that’s definitely my loss. I’ll try to make up for it a bit by writing this post. (more…)

The amphibian biodiversity crisis: causes and research priorities

To kick the article section off this blog I have chosen to discuss an older article by Beebee & Griffiths from 2005, titled ‘The amphibian decline crisis: A watershed for conservation biology?”,  because it sums up very nicely a big part of the theme of this blog. A lot of effort has been undertaken until now by scientists around the globe to study amphibians and the causes for their decline. It is interesting to see where all this work has taken us: which factors are leading to a decline in amphibians, which questions still need to be tackled in the research, but also whether sometimes premature conclusions have been drawn. The research has also shown us the practical problems that have to be overcome to be able to draw meaningful conclusions. After we have looked at this, it is time for a leap forward: where should scientists focus their research on to come to a good conservation programme for amphibians and what are the prospects for amphibians with all that we have learned until now and what we can expect in the future? These are all exhilirating issues that Beebee and Griffiths discuss.

Graph linking species extinction with human population. Crealy visible here is the steep rise in the number of extinctions in recent times


Miniaturization to the extreme: discovery of world’s smallest frog and vertebrate

At the beginning of this year a paper came out in PLoS One describing the discovery of the world’s smallest vertebrate, a frog that has an average body size of only 7.7 mm, Paedophryne amauensis (Rittmeyer et al. 2012). The same team discovered another diminutive frog, Paedophryne swiftorum, which reaches an average body size of around 8.25-8.90 mm. The news was picked up by several media including the Guardian, that had an interview with one of the authors, Christopher Austin. (more…)

Rediscovery of Borneo rainbow toad

With all the news on dwindling amphibian numbers, to which I will pay more attention soon in my blog,  we could use some positive news as well. A nice example was a press release in July last year on the rediscovery  of the Borneo rainbow toad (or Sambas stream toad, Ansonia latidisca). The New York times interviewed the leading scientist of the team, Dr. Das (he discovered a tiny frog in 2010 as well). (more…)

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