New frog species discovery in Panama


The hololotype specimen, which scientists used as the basis to describe a new species of poison dart frog: Andinobates geminisae. Credit: Cesar Jaramillo, STRI

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Scientists find tiny, poisonous new mystery frog

Mysterious new species of poison dart frog can fit on a fingernail and could be under threat

Andrew Griffin

Sunday 28 September 2014

Scientists have discovered a new species of poison dart frog, small enough to fit on a fingernail but still bearing the toxic poison that gives the frogs their name.

Poison dart frogs — many of which are threatened species — live in Central and South America and secrete poisons that are used by hunters to make blowdarts. They are often brightly coloured, with varied colour patterns that scare off predators.

The new animal, found in Panama, is only 12.7 millimetres long. The frog’s smooth skin and its unique call mark it out as different from any of the other frogs in the region, and researchers are unsure how it came to look like it did.

Other frog’s poisons have been harnessed by hunters for weapons, but it is unlikely that the new discovery’s poison has ever been used in that way, Andrew Crawford, one of the authors of the study, told National Geographic. The new frog’s poison has yet to be analysed.

It has been called Andinobates geminisae, and a specimen was first collected in 2011. Scientists have been working since then to understand whether the animal was a new species, and to sequence its DNA.

Though researchers have seen the frog before, it was unclear whether it was just another variety of a similar species. Little is known about the species, but it appears to care for its young.

Because the animal can only be found in such a small area and so its existence could easily be threatened, scientists have laid out plans for how to protect the frog. That will involve including the frog in a captive breeding programme that helps protect amphibians from diseases and habitat loss.

The scientific description of the new species is here.

See also here.

Amphibians of Meijendel nature reserve


Young tree frog, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

This is a photo of a young tree frog on the shoe of a natural history enthusiast in Meijendel nature reserve, north of The Hague in the Netherlands, on 6 September 2014. If you read on, then you will find out how that frog landed there.

That day, we went to a part of Meijendel, usually not open to the public. It is known as Kikkervalleien, frogs’ valleys, because of many amphibians living there.

In the Kikkervalleien, original wet sand dune valley situations have been restored. This means many small lakes with shallow water. Good conditions for amphibians, as there are often no predatory fish in the lakelets.

Traditionally, there used to be six amphibian species in nature reserve Meijendel.

Four of those are toads and frogs:edible frog, common frog, Eurasian toad, and natterjack toad.

Also two newt species, the common newt and the great crested newt, are traditional Meijendel denizens.

About 2007, two other species joined them.

They are the common Eurasian spadefoot toad; and the common tree frog.

The species which we saw most on 6 September were natterjack toads.

All still very small; most smaller than half a centimeter.

Natterjack toad, 6 September 2014

No matter how young natterjack toads are, they already have the characteristic stripe down their backs.

Common frog, 6 September 2014

The second most numerous species on 6 September were common frogs. Also mostly still young, but a bit bigger than the natterjack toads: over 1 centimeter. We also saw an adult.

Young tree frog on shoe, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

Then, the young common tree frog. It jumped around on the sand, till it jumped on the shoe. Then, it jumped higher, to a fold in trousers. Finally, it jumped off, to continue its journey in the dunes.

Young tree frog still on shoe, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

At the lakelet near the exit of the Kikkervalleien area, where the natterjack toad photo is from, there were also young common frogs. And small Eurasian toads.

And a young common newt.

Stay tuned, as there will be more posts on this blog about non-amphibian life forms of Meijendel, like birds, fungi and plants!

Edible frogs feeding on moths, video


This video is about edible frogs in the Netherlands, feeding on moths attracted by lamp light.

Jos van Zijl made the video.

New Brazilian frog discovery, name honours escaped slaves


This video is the film Quilombo, on the history of slavery in Brazil, and slaves’ resistance to it.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of frog named after slaves

A tiny new species of narrow-mouthed frog from the Microhylidae family has been discovered in the Atlantic Forest of the Espírito Santo State, southeastern Brazil.

Measuring just 14mm, the new species has been name[d] Chiasmocleis quilombola after the quilombos communities typical of the Espírito Santo State in Brazil, where the frogs were collected.

Quilombola communities are descended from slaves who dared to escape during colonial Portuguese rule in Brazil between 1530 and 1815 and find a refuge in the depths of the Atlantic Forest.

Even today in the north of Espírito Santo State quilombola communities still remain and maintain alive their traditions, such as quilombola food and craftwork.

Chiasmocleis quilombola occupy coastal areas north of Espírito Santo State, a region that is under strong human pressure, therefore the species may face imminent threat of habitat loss.

The discovery was made by scientists from two US universities, the University of Richmond in Virginia and The George Washington University in Washington DC.

See also here.

The scientific description of the new species is here.

Common frog video


This is a video about a common frog near Gelderse Poort nature reserve in the Netherlands.

John Rothuis made the video.

California red-legged frog now state amphibian


This video is called California’s Amphibians: SAVE THE FROGS! Academy 2013-August 28.

From KPCC in the USA:

California red-legged frog named state amphibian

July 08 2014

The frog made famous in a tale by Mark Twain is now California’s official state amphibian.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation elevating the red-legged frog on June 30. The state library updated its online list of symbols the next day, although the bill doesn’t officially take effect until January.

Members of an afterschool club at Sea View Elementary School in Imperial County proposed AB2364, which was carried by Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez of Coachella. The red-legged frog is only found in California and was large enough to serve as a meal for Gold Rush-era miners.

It is now protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

It joins the grizzly bear, the California redwood and square dancing (the state folk dance) as one of 36 state symbols.

The Fall and Rise of the Amphibian Empire: here.

Edible frog and flies, video


This video is about an edible frog and lots of flies in the Netherlands.

Jos van Zijl made the video..