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.

Flowering plants after dinosaur extinction


This video is called Angiosperm (flowering plant) Life Cycle.

From Smithsonian.com in the USA:

Flowering Plants Appeared in Forest Canopies Just a Few Million Years After Dinosaurs Went Extinct

A new study gives scientists some more insight into the weird history of flowering plants

By Mary Beth Griggs

Taking a minute to smell the flowers isn’t that hard nowadays, but angiosperms (a.k.a. flowering plants) weren’t always as ubiquitous as they are now. They appeared rather suddenly in the fossil record, definitively showing up around 132 million years ago. Their sudden appearance has puzzled scientists from Darwin on to the present day, and while today we understand a bit more about how they diversified, scientists are still learning new things about their history.

In a new study published in Geology, scientists think that they’ve figured out another piece of the angiosperm puzzle. Researchers looked at the patterns of leaf veins of flowering plants in tropical forests in Panama and a temperate forest in Maryland. They looked at the leaves of 132 species, reaching the top of the forest canopy with a 131-foot tall crane, and also taking a look at the leaves that had fallen to the forest floor. Leaves that originated at the very top of the trees tended to have a denser collection of veins than the ones further down the tree trunk.

The scientists then compared the patterns found on the leaves in the forests to leaves found in the fossil record, and discovered that flowering plants had reached the heights of the forest canopy around 58 million years ago, during the Paleocene, just a few million years after the dinosaurs went extinct.

Birds of prey migrating in the Netherlands


This video is about raptor migration in Panama.

The Dutch SOVON ornithologists report about migration of birds of prey.

Yesterday, 27 August 2017, was a good day for raptor migration.

451 honey buzzards were counted. And 278 marsh harriers; though most individuals of this species migrate in September.

There were 38 ospreys. And four Montagu’s harriers; one hen harrier, and a pallid harrier (claimed; experts still have to find out whether it was really that rare species).

Yellow-billed cotinga online


Yellow-billed cotingas

From Neotropical Birds Online:

New on Neotropical Birds Online: completed account for the endangered Yellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae). This account features what may be the first-ever images of a juvenile of this beautiful, ghostly, and declining species.

Yellow-billed cotingas live only in southern Costa Rica and adjacent southwestern Panama.

Costa Rican birds, bye-bye!


This video is called Amazing hummingbirdsCosta Rica.

31 March 2014.

After yesterday, today departure from Costa Rica.

To Panama and beyond.

Early in the morning on the bird table: clay-coloured thrush and blue-grey tanager.

Also buff-throated saltator and rufous-collared sparrow.

This video from Colombia is called Buff-throated Saltator, Silver-throated & Lemon-rumped Tanagers.

On our way to the airport: great-tailed grackles.

15:00, Panamanian time: a great-tailed grackle flies past a window at Panama City airport. Like when this journey began; closing the circle.

Bird book about Costa Rica: here.

Howler monkeys and least grebes in Costa Rica


This video from Panama is called The Mantled Howler Monkey of Central America.

23 March 2014 in Costa Rica.

After yesterday, still near the Rio Tempisque.

A mantled howler monkey family with a youngster in the trees, early in the morning.

Four black-necked stilts near the lakelet. They drink.

Two least grebes swim.

A bare-throated tiger heron.

A flock of black vultures.

Near the next lakelet, a green heron on a tree.

A yellow-naped parrot.

Two great kiskadees, busy with nesting material in their bills.

A black-headed trogon in a tree.

A Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

A solitary sandpiper on a lake bank.

A blue-black grassquit in a tree.

A white-collared seedeater.

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To the wildlife in Costa Rica, 13 March


This music video from the USA is called Dionne WarwickDo You Know The Way To San Jose?

However, this blog post is about a different San Jose; the capital of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is only 0,04% of the surface of planet Earth. However, 5% of all wildlife species can be seen there.

So, I went there on 13 March 2014.

Our plane departed; first, to Panama.

At the international airport of Panama, I saw my first Central American birds. Great-tailed grackles flying around.

This video is about a great-tailed grackle singing near an airport in California, USA.

Further away at Panama airport, birds of prey circling. Too far away to see what species exactly.

There, we transferred to Costa Rica.

This video is called Bird Photography Workshop – Costa Rica (With Wildlife Photographer Glenn Bartley).

Costa Rica 2014 presidential elections: here.