Rare Haitian frogs rediscovered

Juvenile Macaya Breast-spot Frog, Eleutherodactylus thorectes, a critically endangered species in the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti. About the size of a green grape when fully grown, this is one of the smallest frogs in the world. Last seen 1991

Amid all the bad news from Haiti, about the United States government forcibly removing the democratically president … about the horrible earthquake … about basically no reconstruction … about occupation soldiers causing a cholera epidemic … about rape of women …. a bit of good news.

By Mischelle Esguerra:

Haiti frog lost rare species found in earthquake ruins after 20 years

Jan 12, 2011

Amid the ruins of Haiti earthquake, the conservation expedition to the deforested hills of the said country, has found six rare frog species unseen for 20 years, according to international news sites.

The discovery, which came despite heavy deforestation and widespread damage from last year’s earthquake, happened during the expedition last October 2010 to search for frogs that are rarely seen and could be on the verge of extinction.

The team, led by Conservation International scientist Robin Moore and Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University, took a trip to search for one, long-lost frog La Selle Grass frog, which has not been seen in more than a quarter-century. Rather than seeing La Selle Grass frog, they did find six other species of amphibians that had not been seen in nearly two decades. These critically endangered species from Massif de la Hotte, include:

1. Ventriloqual Frog, Eleutherodactylus dolomedes -last seen 1991.
2. Mozart’s Frog, Eleutherodactylus amadeus -last seen 1991.
3. Macaya Burrowing Frog, Eleutherodactylus parapelates -last seen 1996.
4. La Hotte Glanded Frog, Eleutherodactylus glandulifer -last seen 1991
5. Hispaniola Crowned Frog, Eleutherodactylus corona– last seen 1991.
6. Juvenile Macaya Breast-spot Frog, Eleutherodactylus thorectes– about the size of a green grape when fully grown, is one of the smallest frogs in the world, last seen 1991.

According to Moore, they “went in looking for one missing species and found a treasure trove of others. That, to me, represents a welcome dose of resilience and hope for the people and wildlife of Haiti.”

See also here; with photos.

See also here. And here. And here.

Haitian Activist Patrick Elie: “Haiti is Controlled by Foreign Govts & Foreign Interests”: here.

Haitians protest at Clinton’s office: here.

Robert Naiman, Truthout: “California Rep. Maxine Waters has called for the results of the disputed November presidential election in Haiti to be set aside and for new elections to be held. In a statement Wednesday, she writes: ‘I call upon the Government of Haiti to set aside the flawed November 28th elections and organize new elections that will be free, fair and accessible to all Haitian voters…. Haiti’s next government will be called upon to make difficult decisions that will have a lasting impact on Haitian society, such as the allocation of resources for cholera treatment efforts and earthquake reconstruction projects. If these decisions are made by a government that is not perceived as legitimate, the recovery process could be impeded for years to come'”: here.

7 thoughts on “Rare Haitian frogs rediscovered

  1. ‘Baby Doc’ returns to Port-au-Prince

    HAITI: Disgraced former president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Port-au-Prince on Sunday after long exile in France.

    Mr Duvalier, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 1986 amid allegations that he had plundered government coffers, returned as politicians struggle to resolve a dire political crisis following the problematic November 28 first round of the presidential election.

    Three candidates want to go on to a second round. The Organisation of American States has sent a team of experts to resolve the deadlock, recommending that President Rene Preval’s candidate be excluded.



  2. Florida frogs floated from Cuba

    (AFP) – 21 hours ago

    PARIS — Two species of invasive frog which are hopping their way through Florida probably got to the state by hitching a ride on floating debris from Cuba, according to a study published on Wednesday.

    Amphibian experts have long wrangled over the origins of the greenhouse frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris) and the Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis).

    The two species are widespread across the Caribbean, but were first spotted in the Florida Keys — the island chain that starts at Florida’s southeastern tip — in the mid-1800s.

    A hundred years later, both began to be firmly established on the mainland and embarked on a relentless advance.

    Today, the greenhouse frog has established colonies as far north as Alabama, while the Cuban treefrog can be found all around the southern Florida coastline.

    Scientists led by Blair Hedges at Pennsylvania State University analysed the frogs’ DNA to identify the amphibians’ closest native relatives, which would tease out clues about this unusual migration.

    The greenhouse frog’s ancestry was pinpointed to a small area of western Cuba, while the Cuban treefrog came from at least two sources in Cuba, of which the best bet is a remote peninsula in the western part of the island.

    The team believe that the two species came to Florida thousands of years ago, quite possibly by climbing on board vegetation that then floated like a raft across the narrow strait.

    Once established in the Keys, the frogs adapted over the years to the colder winters of Florida compared to their Cuban home, and this enabled them to spread northwards when transport and commerce links developed in the mid-20th century.

    “Both of them could have come across (to Florida) naturally, not by swimming, because these frogs would die pretty quickly in salt water, but by floating across on vegetation,” Hedges said in a phone interview.

    “There are plenty of examples of flotsam crossings, on short distances as well as long distances, even across oceans. These frogs, especially the treefrog, are on many small islands in the Caribbean which have no humans, so clearly they get around. There’s no other way they could have got to those islands other than by floating.”

    Hedges added: “What we’re speculating in this paper is that if they were there on the Keys on their own for thousands of years, they could have adapted to a more continental climate, making them better invasive species.

    “And when they made their way up into Florida, that may explain why they have done so well.”

    Invasive species such as rabbits, rats, the cane toad and zebra mussels, introduced deliberately or accidentally into foreign habitats, can become a major problem in biodiversity.

    Hedges said that although the two Cuban frogs had clearly adapted well to Florida, little was known of their impact on native American species.


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