Lost and Found: Three Rediscovered Amphibians

Lost and Found: Three Rediscovered Amphibians

Rene Ebersole
Published: 09/22/2010

Scientists scouring the globe in search of lost amphibians have a trio of reasons to celebrate: two frogs and a salamander that didn’t croak after all. The rediscoveries are part of an unprecedented global effort—spanning 14 countries on five continents—to search for 100 species of amphibians that have been presumed extinct, but that might still be hanging on by a thread in some remote places. 
 
The three rediscovered species include a Mexican salamander last seen upon its discovery in 1941, a frog from the Ivory Coast that has been missing since 1967, and a frog from the Democratic Republic of Congo unaccounted for since 1979.


Cave splayfoot salamander (Chiropterotriton mosaueri), Photo by Sean Rovito
Missing Since: 1941
Found: Inside a cave in Hidalgo in the Mexican state of Durango

The global search, organized by Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group, comes at a time when amphibians are in serious decline—more than a third of species are in danger of extinction. 

Nimba reed frog (Hyperolius nimbae), Photo by Ngoran Germain Kouame
Missing Since: 1967
Found: In a swampy field in the Ivory Coast village of Danipleu, near the Liberia border

“These are fantastic finds and could have important implications for people as well as amphibians,” said Robin Moore, a biologist with CI, in a press statement. “We don’t know whether the 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 that we have been looking for have probably gone for good.” 


Omaniundu reed frog (Hyperolius sankuruensis), Photo by Jos Kielgast
Missing Since: 1979
Found: In a remote area along the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 186 miles from where it was first discovered

"It’s pretty extraordinary to think about just how long it has been since these animals were last seen,” added Moore. “The last time the Mexican salamander was seen Glenn 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.”

More discoveries are expected as the global search for lost amphibians continues. Follow the progress here
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