New Madagascar frog discoveries

This video is called Wild Chronicles: Madagascar Poison Frogs.

From Wildlife Extra:

20 – 30 new frogs discovered in Madagascan forest

Potential amphibian gold mine discovered in a 2228 hectare fragment of Madagascan forest

April 2012. Betampona Nature Reserve protects one of the last remaining relicts (about 2,228 ha) of low elevation rainforests in eastern Madagascar. Yet little research has been undertaken about the amphibian fauna of this rainforest. During 2004 and 2007, Betampona was surveyed over a total period of 102 days using three different techniques: Opportunistic searching, pitfall trapping and acoustic surveys.

The survey work confirmed the occurrence of 76 species of amphibian, of which 36 are currently candidate species (Candidate for listing as an endangered or threatened species) and about 30% were first considered as undescribed species. 24 of these species are potentially endemic to this low elevation eastern region.

Hugely important relic forest\

Considering the relatively small area of the Betampona forest, and its narrow elevational range, 76 amphibian species represents an unusually high richness compared to other sites in Madagascar. Although the eastern region is now largely deforested, these results reveal the importance of this relict forest, which is protecting a diverse amphibian fauna that includes many potentially new and endemic species.

150 new species in last 10 years

The number of newly identified frog species during the last decade exceeds 150, most of them still undescribed, and some authors believe that the total number of amphibian species in Madagascar may reach more than 500.

Some of the frogs found during the study

Anuran species of RNI de Betampona:

a Ptychadena mascareniensis,
b Heterixalus madagascariensis,
c Heterixalus punctatus,
d Paradoxophyla palmata,
e Scaphiophryne spinosa,
f Rhombophryne coudreaui,
g Plethodontohyla sp. aff. brevipes,
h Plethodontohyla notosticta,
i Stumpffia sp.,
j Stumpffia sp.
k Stumpffia sp.
l Stumpffia sp. aff. grandis,
m Stumpffia sp. aff. tetradactyla
n Platypelis grandis,
o Platypelis sp. aff. cowani
p Platypelis tuberifera,
q Platypelis sp. aff. grandis
r Platypelis sp. aff. cowani
s Platypelis sp.
t Platypelis sp. aff. tetra [Ca
u Anodonthyla sp. aff. boulengeri
v Anodonthyla boulengeri,
w Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis,
x Boophis tephraeomystax,
y Boophis calcaratus.

Madagascar is thought to have more than 300 species of frogs, 99 percent of which are endemic. Frogs are the only amphibians found in Madagascar—there are no toads, salamanders, or newts: here.

The recent introduction of the common Asian toad to Madagascar has led to fears that the toxic amphibian could wreak havoc on the island’s already severely threatened fauna. Now, researchers report genetic evidence in the journal Current Biology on June 4 showing that those fears are well founded: virtually all predators native to Madagascar are highly sensitive to toad toxins. If they should eat the toads, it would be a potentially fatal mistake: here.

Madagascar is home to an extraordinary number of endemic species – species found nowhere else in the world. In fact, among amphibians, there is literally only one among 230 known species which is not endemic. As habitat loss, the pet trade, and environmental contaminants threaten amphibians like mantella frogs, understanding and trying to protect these animals and their habitats is a race against time. Some species, including the brilliantly-colored golden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca), live in tiny, isolated areas, heightening their vulnerability to extinction: here.

Minke whales, common dolphins are back off Scotland

This video is called Antarctica – Minke Whale.

From Wildlife Extra:

First sightings of Minke whales and Common dolphins off the Hebrides in 2012

Summer visitors return to the Hebrides

April 2012. The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) have received the first reports of the year of Minke whale and common dolphin off Scotland’s west coast. While some species, such as the harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphin are resident year round, other species migrate to the area, usually arriving in the Spring, to take advantage of the increased food stocks available.

First common dolphins & Minke sightings

The first common dolphins of the season were sighted in the Sound of Raasay on the 13th April. The following day, Susannah Calderan and Russell Leaper, who sit on HWDTs Scientific Committee, reported the first Minke whale sighting of the season and a group of common dolphins, off the Isle of Canna. Susannah commented, “It was great to see our first common dolphins of the season. The group was at least 100-strong, and the animals were bow-riding our yacht for over half an hour. To see a Minke whale too really made our day. It’s good to know our summer visitors are back again.”

WWF is deeply concerned over the reported deaths of over 32 vulnerable Yangtze finless porpoise since the beginning of the year, and is working with authorities and local communities to prevent the tragedy from reoccurring: here.