‘Extinct’ amphibians rediscovered in the Philippines


This video says about itself:

Philippines Herping Adventure Part One

13 April 2015

GuyGuy goes herping in Leyte, Philippines. See the people, ecology and herps in this adventure. Experience the diversity of the reptiles and amphibians of the Philippines.

And this video is the sequel. It says about itself:

7 May 2015

GuyGuy goes herping in Leyte, Philippines. Philippines herping Adventure Part Two continues the adventure somewhere near Tocloban. GuyGuy discovers snakes, geckos, frogs, birds and fish on this episode. Join him as he discovers the diversity of the rainforest.

From National Geographic:

“Extinct” Amphibians Rediscovered After Nearly Half a Century

Two species of amphibians thought lost to science have been found again in the mountain forests of the Philippines.

By Jason Bittel

June 02, 2015

It had been 50 years since anyone laid eyes on the Malatgan River caecilian, a legless amphibian native to the island province of Palawan in the Philippines.

Scientists feared the species, whose written record was lost in a museum destroyed during the Battle of Manila in World War II, was gone forever.

That is, until a team of scientists saw something slithering through the dirt during a recent trip to the Philippines. (Also see “Pictures: New Amphibians Without Arms or Legs Discovered.”)

“It was basically a coincidence,” says Rafe Brown, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Kansas who was on the expedition team led by the Philippines-based Centre for Sustainability. “One of the students happened to be walking by it and thought it was a worm. But lo and behold, it was a Malatgan River caecilian.”

Brown and his team have been wading across rivers and sifting through mud in the Palawan backcountry for over 15 years looking for signs of this and other species lost to science.

When the expedition finally stumbled across the serpentine amphibian, it was at the end of a road and a seven-hour hike beyond that from the nearest village. The area is known as Cleopatra’s Needle.

“This is an animal that doesn’t have any flashy colors or anything like that, but it’s one of those last, iconic species that we couldn’t find,” says Brown. (See “Photos: Ten Most Wanted ‘Extinct’ Amphibians.”)

Remarkably, the expedition also found the Palawan toadlet (Pelophryne albotaeniata), which had been missing for the last 40 years.

Lost and Found

The rediscoveries are the result of a biodiversity survey launched in December 2014 and carried out by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Global Wildlife Conservation, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, and Rainforest Trust.

“When we started this project, we didn’t know for sure if these animals were there,” says Robin Moore, conservation officer with the Amphibian Survival Alliance.

“For me, it’s incredible to find these two amphibians after not seeing them for decades. It highlights how much is out there that we don’t know.” (See “Photos: Bubble-nest Frog, Other ‘Extinct’ Species Found.”)

Joseph Mendelson, a herpetologist and director of research at Zoo Atlanta, adds that “discoveries like this reinforce the importance of continued biodiversity surveys around the world.”

4 thoughts on “‘Extinct’ amphibians rediscovered in the Philippines

  1. Pingback: Thousands of Philippine turtles rescued from criminals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: World’s biggest pearl discovery in Philippines | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Dinosaur age caecilian amphibian ancestor discovered? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: New shrew species discovered in Philippines | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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