Conservation International just reported the discovery of three new amphibian species in Colombia. The three species include: “a mysterious toad with ruby-colored eyes, a diminutive long-nosed beaked toad which hides in dead leaves, and a gorgeous new rocket frog with flashes of red on its legs,” (shown above) according to CI. All three species are new to science. Scientists were actually in Colombia to search for the Mesopotamia beaked toad, which hasn’t been seen in decades, and is listed as critically endangered.
What they found instead was a new species of rocket frog, also called a poison dart frog. This kind of amphibian can contain chemicals which have been found useful to humans. It lives in and around streams and is no greater than 3 centimeters long.
At an elevation of about 6,000 feet, the scientists found a new toad species with bright red eyes in an area of mountain rainforest. They were stumped by the species as they knew nothing about it other than where it lives. This one is about 3-4 centimeters long.
The third species, a type of beaked toad, is only about 2 centimeters long and only two of them were found. They live in the leaf litter at ground level and resemble dead leaves in color. It is speculated they lay eggs which hatch into toadlets, with no tadpole stage.
New species of beaked toad.
One of the scientists who went on the expedition said, “Finding three new species in such a short space of time speaks to the incredibly rich biodiversity of these relatively unexplored forests and highlights their importance for conservation. Protecting these habitats into the future will be essential to ensure the survival of both the amphibians and the benefits that they bring to ecosystems and people.” (Source: Conservation International)
A large portion of the world’s amphibians are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pollution of water systems, and the chytrid fungus which was wiped out millions of frogs, and has already extinguished some species. Frogs and toads contribute greatly to their natural environments by eating a tremendous number of insects which can spread diseases to other animals and to humans. They also play a role in keeping freshwater habitats clean, and some species are being studied by humans for the chemicals they harbor for medical applications.
IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Fundacion ProAves collaborated with Conservation International on the research project.
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