New amphibians and reptiles discovered in Ecuador

This video is about frogs in Ecuador.


Photos: expedition in Ecuador reveals numerous new species in threatened cloud forest

Jeremy Hance

January 14, 2010

An expedition into rainforests on Ecuador’s coast by Reptile & Amphibian Ecology (RAEI) International have revealed a number of possible new species including a blunt-snouted, slug-eating snake; four stick insects; and up to 30 new ‘rain’ frogs.

The blunt-snouted snake, which feeds on gastropods like slugs, is especially interesting, as its closest relative is in Peru, 350 miles away. In addition, a fifteen-year-old volunteer with the organization found a snake that specializes on snails. The researchers are unsure of this is a new species: the closest similar snake is 600 miles away in Panama.

So-called ‘rain frogs’, of which the expedition may have discovered 30 new species, lay their eggs in trees, instead of in water. When they hatch the young frogs are not tadpoles, but actual mini-versions of adults. The frogs require moist forests in order to breed successfully, researchers fear that climate change could make the forests drier.

“There is obviously a great concern that these species will disappear as soon as, or even before, they are formally described by science,” said expedition leader Dr. Paul S. Hamilton of RAEI.

Many of the new species were found on a single mountain rising to 800 meters, called Cerro Pata de Pájaro. A few square miles of cloud forest blanket the mountain’s peak.

This forest and other lowland rainforests nearby are threatened by deforestation for cattle grazing, logging, and hunting according to RAEI. In addition, rising temperatures could force ecosystems, such as Cerro Pata de Pájaro’s tiny cloud forest, higher and higher up the mountain until there is no-where to go. Already researchers in the tropics have found plants moving upslope to keep up with temperatures.

“The good news is, the animals are still there and alive, so there is still time to save them from extinction,” said Dr. Kerry Kriger, Executive Director of the nonprofit advocacy organization Save the Frogs. “But we need to take action now to make it happen.”

See also here.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 19, 2010) — A team of scientists has documented that Yasuní National Park, in the core of the Ecuadorian Amazon, shatters world records for a wide array of plant and animal groups, from amphibians to trees to insects: here.

Rare Orange-breasted falcon and Tamandua photographed on Ecuadorian reserves: here.

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