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Breaking News! 5 'extinct' frogs rediscovered in India
7 years ago
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5 'extinct' frogs rediscovered in India

27/02/2011 23:48:57

world/Asia/Asia july 10/lai_bubble_nest

Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog. Last seen in 1874! Rediscovered after 136 years.© SD Biju.

Lost! Amphibians of India is an ambitious campaign that aims to discover 50 species of Indian amphibians that are considered to be actually or potentially extinct in the wild.

February 2011. India has remarkable amphibian diversity with 321 amphibian species recorded. However, sadly, India has already lost 13% of its amphibians, and, this has ranks India amongst the worst countries for extinctions of native species. Some of these species are only known from very brief century-old original descriptions and/or sketchy illustrations; some lost amphibians species are known from as recently as 18 years ago, but some from as far back as 170 years.

The good news is that just three months after launch of a campaign, Lost! Amphibians of India (LAI) has made remarkable rediscoveries of five lost species of frogs.

Lost! Amphibians of India is an initiative launched at the University of Delhi on 2 November 2010 . The campaign is spearheaded by University of Delhi and works in collaboration with IUCN/ASG, Conservation International, Global Wildlife Conservation, DST and DBT, Government of India, NHM, London and AVC Assam. Prof SD Biju of University of Delhi is the coordinator of the initiative.

The rediscovered frogs

Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog (Raorchestes chalazodes) Rediscovered after 136 years.
Last seen in 1874! This striking fluorescent green frog with ash-blue thighs and black pupils with golden patches (highly unusual traits among amphibians) frog leads a secretive life, presumably inside reedbeds during the day. It is thought that the species does not have a free-swimming tadpole stage, but completes development inside the egg. 

Rediscovered from Kodayar, Tamil Nadu, by Ganesan R, Seshadri KS and SD Biju.

Listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered.

7 years ago

anamalai Dot-frog (Ramanella anamalaiensis)

Rediscovered after 73 years. 

This narrow-mouthed frog is named after the Anamalai Hills in the southern Western Ghats where it was discovered (and last seen) in 1937 and the presence of yellow spots on its upper side and scattered white spots on its underside. The original specimen was lost and there was no confirmed information on the species until its rediscovery from Parambikulam, in Kerala, by SP Vijayakumar, Anil Zachariah, David Raju, Sachin Rai and SD Biju. 

The frog calls loudly from marshy areas during the monsoon season but hides the rest of the year under stones and logs on the forest floor or in tree holes. 
Listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient.
Dehradun Stream Frog (Amolops chakrataensis)

Rediscovered after 25 years 

Only known from the original description base on a single specimen in 1985. Rediscovered after 25 years by a team of graduate students from Delhi University: Sonali G, Gargi S and Pratyush with Robin Suyesh, Rachunliu G Kamei and SD Biju.

The frog is characterized by a light green dorsal colour with tiny dark spots. The frog appears to be rare and its habitat (Tiger Falls, Chakrata, Dehradun, Uttarakhand) requires protection to ensure its survival.
Listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient.

Silent Valley Tropical Frog (Micrixalus thampii)

Rediscovered after 30 years 

Last seen 30 years ago and rediscovered in rubbish bin in a field station in Silent Valley National Park, in Kerala, on a fieldtrip following the launch of the LAI campaign in Delhi. The team observed several more individuals adjacent to a stream-bed under leaf litter, in close forest cover within the Kunthi River watershed. 

Rediscovered by Don Church, Robin Moore, Franky Bossuyt, Ines Van Bocxlaer, David Gower, Mark Wilkinson, Darrel Frost, Wes Sechrest and SD Biju. 

Listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient.
Elegant Tropical Frog (Micrixalus elegans)

Rediscovered after 73 years.

Known only from the original description based on a collection in 1937. The original specimen was subsequently lost and the species evaded detection until it was rediscovered after 73 years in Kempholey, Karnataka, by KV Gururaja, KP Dinesh and SD Biju in a forest stream]bed at the original collection area.

The frog lives in forest streams and calls from the edge of rivers where it presumably breeds. The area is a hotspot for amphibian diversity, containing at least another 20 species. Currently there is a hydroelectric project proposal in the area and the site is urgently in need of protection. 

Listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient.

7 years ago

Amphibians are the most threatened land animals on our planet 

Amphibians are fascinating animals; they were the first land animals to have a backbone; they have seen giant dinosaurs come and go but have managed to survive through tumultuous periods of earth's history. However, currently, mostly because of man made reasons, one in three amphibian species faces risk of extinction. It comes as no surprise that amphibians are the most threatened group among the vertebrates on planet Earth. The amphibian fauna of India is also facing high risk of rapid extinction due to habitat destruction.

LOST! Amphibians of India initiative: LAI initiative presently has 150 members. Members are drawn from different walks of life - scientists, students, general public. Currently 15 teams are pursuing the remaining 45 species. Each team is led by an amphibian specialist working together with LAI coordinator, Dr SD Biju. These teams are enthusiastically gearing up for intensive field expeditions throughout the country during the next nine months. The coming together of people from diverse backgrounds highlights the importance of this initiative for discovering and documenting India's rich amphibian diversity and amphibian conservation. Visit the website for more information and institutional affiliation.

Outcomes of LOST! Amphibians of India Initiative so far:
As a result of untiring effort of scientists, five out of the fifty lost Indian amphibians are now rediscovered. The search for the remaining 45 species goes on - It is a tall order but scientists are optimistic, with guarded confidence though, that the remaining 45 lost species will also be rediscovered.

Whatever the final outcome, the expedition findings will expand our global understanding of the threats to amphibians and bring us closer to finding solutions for their protection. Bold conservation efforts are not only critical for the future of many amphibians themselves, but also for the benefit of humans who indirectly rely on the amphibians for requirements like pest control, nutrient cycling and other such services. Scientists, wildlife enthusiasts and frog lovers hope that the places that frogs have made their homes will once again throb with their calls during monsoon.

Civil society involvement: The LAI initiative has the enthusiastic support of the cricket legend Mr Anil Kumble and the Writer & Producer of The Simpsons, Mr George Meyer. 

The University of Delhi is a premier University of India and is known for its high standards in teaching and research. The Vice President of India is the University's Chancellor. DU is a Central University established in 1922. For more information, visit:      The Systematics Lab is a unit of the Department of Environmental Biology and contributes to conservation of amphibians through discovery and documentation of species. For more information, visit:

Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) - GWC supports life on Earth by advancing both academic and applied approaches to conservation research, action, and education. Along with its strategic worldwide partners, GWC is pursuing a common goal: to save wildlife species from extinction and better understand and maintain the natural world and its biological diversity. For more information, visit:

IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) - The ASG of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) strives to conserve biological diversity by stimulating, developing, and executing practical programs to conserve amphibians and their habitats around the world. This is achieved by supporting a global web of partners to develop funding, capacity and technology transfer to achieve shared, strategic amphibian conservation goals. For more information, visit:

Natural History Museum (London)- The mission of the Natural History Museum (London) is to maintain and develop its collections and use them to promote the discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world. 

Conservation International (CI) - Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity. With headquarters in Washington, DC, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. 

More information, click Conservation International 

Arya Vidyapeeth College, Guwahati, Assam - For more information, visit

7 years ago

Great posts, Fulvia.  A lot of wonderful information.  Thanks!!

Thanks Fulvia.
7 years ago

The computer teacher at the job center today tried to get a story up. We did, but not the Maps and Links. And now it says I have No Archives ?? Arrrgggg!!!!!

7 years ago

OMG, how frustrating.  They must be somewhere. Archives don't just disappear!

Great Piece Fulvia
7 years ago

The re-discovery of a speicies is one of those good news / bad news things ???

Great news that they have been found & not extinct as feared ...

Bad news, we just can't leave them alone to get on with their lives, we have to do invasive studies - under the lable of scientific study - which once more puts them at risk or drives them into hiding ??


Or like in the case of a bird which recently decided to nest on our shores for the first time in 30 years, it got so much publicity, that hundreds of people invaded the location to try and see for themselves, which caused the birds to abandoned the nest & nearly 3 square miles of nature reserve was trampled into the bargain almost to the point of destruction.

7 years ago

thanks for the information

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