New frog species discovery in Bolivia


This video says about itself:

Expedition in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park Discovers New Frog Species | WCS

20 August 2015

WCS scientists on a multi-year expedition through Bolivia‘s Madidi National Park have likely discovered a new species of robber frog. They were tipped off by the distinctive orange coloring on its inner thighs and will be working over the next few months to confirm the discovery.

From Wildlife Extra:

A new species of big-headed or robber frog (Oreobates sp. nov.) from the Craugastoridae family has been discovered in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park.

The frog was found during the first leg of an 18-month long expedition called Identidad Madidi to chronicle the staggering wildlife living in what is believed to be the world’s most biodiverse park.

James Aparicio, a professional herpetologists from the Bolivian Faunal Collection, said, “Robber frogs are small to medium-sized frogs distributed in the Andes and Amazon region and to date there are 23 known species. As soon as we saw these frogs’ distinctive orange inner thighs, it aroused our suspicions about a possible new species, especially because this habitat has never really been studied in detail before Identidad Madidi.”

Identidad Madidi is a multi-institutional effort to describe still unknown species and to showcase the wonders of Bolivia’s extraordinary natural heritage at home and abroad. The expedition officially began on June 5th, 2015 and will eventually visit 14 sites lasting for 18 months as a team of Bolivian scientists works to expand existing knowledge on Madidi’s birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish along an altitudinal pathway descending more than 5,000 meters (more than 16,000 feet) from the mountains of the high Andes into the tropical Amazonian forests and grasslands of northern Bolivia.

Participating institutions include the Ministry of the Environment and Water, the Bolivian National Park Service, the Vice Ministry of Science and Technology, Madidi National Park, the Bolivian Biodiversity Network, WCS, the Institute of Ecology, Bolivian National Herbarium, Bolivian Faunal Collection and Armonia with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and WCS.

Teresa Chávez, Director of the Bolivian Biodiversity and Protected Areas Directorate expressed her satisfaction with the scientific results of the Identidad Madidi expedition: “The description of a new species of robber frog (Oreobates) for science is important news for the country as it confirms the extraordinary biodiversity of Madidi National Park and demonstrates the importance of scientific research in protected areas.”

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.

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.

New small frog species discovery on Brazilian mountaintops


This 2007 video from Brazil is about a Brachycephalus pernix frog, a relative of the recently discovered species.

This is another 2007 video about Brachycephalus pernix.

And this 2013 Brazilian video is about Brachycephalus tridactylus, another relative.

And this 2012 Brazilian video is about Brachycephalus nodoterga.

And this December 2014 video, recorded in Brazil, is about Brachycephalus pitanga.

This March 2014 video is about the skeleton of Brachycephalus ephipium.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Seven new species of miniature frogs discovered in cloud forests of Brazil

Tiny frogs smaller in size than bumblebees have evolved with fewer fingers and toes to reduce their size to adapt to life on isolated mountaintops

Karl Mathiesen

Thursday 4 June 2015 17.08 BST

Seven new species of miniature frog, smaller than bumblebees, have been discovered clinging to survival on isolated mountaintops in Brazil.

The largest of the new discoveries has a maximum adult length of just 13mm. The frogs, which are among the smallest land vertebrates, have evolved with fewer fingers and toes in order to reduce their size.

Miniaturisation allows the frogs to emerge from their eggs as fully-formed, albeit tiny, adults. This means they do not go through a tadpole stage and can survive far from standing water. Highly efficient absorption allows them to stay hydrated by soaking water from damp ground through the skin on their bellies.

Marcio Pie, a professor at the Universidade Federal do Paraná, led a team of researchers on a five-year exploration of the mountainous cloud forests on the southern Atlantic coast of Brazil. They published their study in the journal PeerJ on Thursday.

“Although getting to many of the field sites is exhausting, there was always the feeling of anticipation and curiosity about what new species could look like”, said Pie.

The frogs are all species from the Brachycephalus genus, which are often tiny in size.

They live on ‘sky islands’, areas of high forest on mountains surrounded by lower altitude rainforest. The tiny frogs are highly adapted to their conditions and sometimes restricted to a single mountain. There they have evolved in isolation over millennia – much like the unique species on separate Galapagos islands that so fascinated Charles Darwin.

Pie said this extreme endemism makes them exceptionally vulnerable to changes in their habitat. Their major threats are illegal logging and changes to cloud forests caused by climate change. None of the newly-described species are in reserves and many live relatively close to cities where the forest can be more easily impacted.

“The really big concern is climate change because the cloud forest depends on the delicate balance between the water that comes form the ocean and the topography. If there’s some sort of warming it’s possible that that sort of really humid forest will disappear and with that all the endemic species, not only our frogs but other types of organisms,” he said.

The study increases the number of recognised species in the genus by 50% to a total of 21.

Luiz Ribeiro, a research associate to the Mater Natura Institute for Environmental Studies, said the new discoveries suggested there were many more to find. “This is only the beginning, especially given the fact that we have already found additional species that we are in the process of formally describing.”

The find comes against a background of catastrophic amphibian decline worldwide caused by a chytrid fungus. At least 200 species of frog have been driven to extinction or declined because of the disease the fungus causes. Pie said the frogs may be protected from chytrid by their ability to survive away from the water sources where the fungus is often found.

Snail passes tree frog, video


Ab Wisselink from the Netherlands, the maker of this video, writes about it (translated):

On May 13 [2015], I photographed a tree frog sitting sunbathing on a blackberry bush in a new nature reserve of the State Forestry in Halle-Heide (Achterhoek region).

From the right underside a snail entered the picture, crawling, and passed the tree frog, neatly according to the traffic rules on the left side. The frog moved aside a bit, but otherwise let it happen quietly, and the snail seemed to have no trouble finding its way with between the sharp blackberry thorns. Wonderful to experience!

Little ringed plover and young frog


This video is about black woodpeckers making their nest.

We had seen a black woodpecker; on 2 May, in a coniferous forest near the Holtveenslenk lake. I personally saw just a silhouette of the bird flying away.

After 4 May 2015, came 5 May in and around Dwingelderveld national park in Drenthe province.

We went to the southern Kloosterveld part. Still barn swallows flying around. However, now after the rain, there are many more puddles than on 3 May. So, the swallows now are able to drink and to collect nesting material at many more places than before; making photographing them harder than before.

Moss, 5 May 2015

The moss is not harder to photograph here now than earlier.

A yellowhammer on the grass.

Willow warbler and chiffchaff singing.

So does a skylark. And a song thrush.

A curlew calls.

A shelduck rests on the lakelet bank.

Behind it, Egyptian geese.

Two grey lag geese flying overhead.

On the northern bank of the next lake, a common sandpiper.

Little ringed plover, 5 May 2015

And a little ringed plover.

Two shelducks swimming between black-headed gulls.

Sound of a pheasant. And of an edible frog.

Stonechat male, 5 May 2015

On a pole, a male stonechat. It flies to a wire; then, to another pole.

Young pool frog, 5 May 2015

Then, a juvenile pool frog.

We arrive back at Lanka park. A red squirrel at the feeder.

Blackbird female, 5 May 2015

Then, a female blackbird; cleaning her feathers after lots of rain.