Frog discoveries, new species, poison

This video is called BBC: Poison Dart FrogsWild Caribbean.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ribbiting news: frogs’ poison spines revealed and new species discovered

In two separate breakthroughs, a new species of tree frog has been discovered, while two species of Amazonian frog have been revealed to be venomous

Many of world’s frogs may be at risk of extinction, but something new always hops up in the amphibian world. In two separate journals in one afternoon, scientists have identified a brand new tree frog species high in the Peruvian cloud forest, while on the other side of the Andes, a biologist in the Amazon basin discovered the hard way the secret of survival of two familiar species: they are venomous.

The deadly duo – formally named Corythomantis greeningi and Aparasphenodon brunoi – are not just poisonous in the way made notorious by the poison dart frogs known as Dendrobatidae, which are the ones that indigenous Amerindians traditionally used to poison their blow darts. They are poisonous in the sense that they can inject a toxin from a sharp spine on their heads.

The poison is more deadly than the secretions of a pit viper, and one of the discoverers, Carlos Jared of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo found out the hard way. While collecting C. greeningi he got a spine in his hand: intense, radiating pain followed for the next five hours.

The experience immediately explained why no hungry hunters are known to dine off either kind of frog. “This action would be even more effective on the mouth lining of an attacking predator,” said Dr Jared. As he and his research colleague Edmund Brodie of Utah State University tell the story in the journal Current Biology, it may have been a lucky strike. They calculate that one gram of toxin from the other, even more poisonous species, would be enough to kill 300,000 mice, or about 80 humans.

“It is unlikely that a frog of this species produces this much toxin, and only very small amounts would be transferred by the spines into a wound,” said Brodie. “Regardless, we have been unwilling to test this by allowing a frog to jab us with its spines.”

Meanwhile, 2350 metres high in the forests of the Peruvian Andes, biologists found a tiny fleshbelly frog hardly bigger than a beetle and hitherto unknown to science that had been leaping around in the leaf litter under their feet. The frog has been named Noblella madreselva (which means “mother jungle” in Spanish), in the journal Zookeys by its discoverers Allessandro Catenazzi of Southern Illinois University and Dr Vanessa Uscapi.

It announced itself by its striking colouration: a wide white mark on a black background, stretching from chest to belly, with a brown splash on its head that looks like a dark facial mask. The frog may have escaped notice until now, but it may survive only in that location, and in parts of the forest not yet logged. So it could be at high risk of hopping away to extinction. Half of all the world’s toads, frogs, newts and salamanders are in decline, and one third are at risk of extinction.

“It is therefore imperative to document the highly endemic amphibian faunas of the wet montane Andean forests as a first step towards designing a network of natural reserves that maximises protection of amphibian diversity,” the authors say.

See also here.

Indian caecilians threatened by traffic

This music video from California in the USA says about itself:

Caecilian Cotillion

21 April 2014

Celebrating the 200th known species of caecilian (it’s Ichthyophis multicolor from Myanmar), another AmphibiaWeb song by the Wiggly Tendrils (supported by the California Academy of Sciences).

Download the song here at the Wiggly Tendrils’ Bandcamp.

From the Navhind Times in India:

Environmentalists concerned over rise in caecilian deaths on roads

July 21, 2015

SANKHALI: Environmentalists have rued the rise in number of caecilians that are killed by speeding vehicles on roads in Chorla Ghat area. Chorla Ghat comes under the jurisdictions of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka states and is home to many varieties of caecilians. Every year during monsoon season a large number of caecilians cross the road and come under the vehicles, observed environmentalists.

Well-known caecilian expert and wild-lifer associated with Bombay Natural History Society Doter Varadagiri said, “The Chorla Ghat region is rich in caecilian diversity. There is a need to study the unknown facets of their life.”

Gajanan Shetye, a volunteer of Vivekanand Environment Awareness Brigade said that they find many caecilian carcasses on the road. Nirmal Kulkarni, a wild lifer associated with Mhadei Research Centre, who was instrumental in discovering three species of caecilians, said, “Caecilians are important since they play important role in enriching soil nutrients and increasing its fertility.”

Rare spadefoot toad conservation

This is a Dutch video from 2012 about spadefoot toad conservation in Limburg province.

Dutch conservation organisation ARK reports today that on 14 July 2015, nearly 700 tadpoles of the rare European common spadefoot toad have been freed. This happened in Kempen-Broek nature reserve, on the border of Noord-Brabant and Limburg provinces in the Netherlands and Limburg province in Belgium.

This was the second time that larvae of this rare species have been freed there. In 2016, it will happen for the third and last time.

Common frog video

This is a video about a common frog in July 2015 in a ditch in Wildervank, the Netherlands.

Suzanne de Vries (13 years old) made this video.

Mating moor frogs, video

This 30 June 2015 video from the Hoge Veluwe national park in the Netherlands is by Ruben Smit, maker of the Dutch wildlife film De nieuwe wildernis.

It shows a female moor frog, going to look for a (blueish) male to mate with after her hibernation.

Thousands of tadpoles, video

This video is about a ditch in the Netherlands with thousands of tadpoles.

Metsje de Jong made the video.

‘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, National Geographic

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.”