One of the many species of amphibians endemic to the tepuis (high flat plateaus in venezuela), the Roraima black frog (Oreophrynella quelchii) is restricted to the summit of two tepuis, Mount Roraima and Wei-Assipo-Tepui
5 Costa Rican frogs that came back from suspected extinction and 1 that didn’t
by Lindsay Fendt
After mass declines in populations in Costa Rica, scientists now have some hope for many of these tiny amphibians.
Climate change, habitat destruction, the illegal pet trade and the spread of a severe and incurable fungus have been killing off amphibian species in droves in Costa Rica since the late 1980s. Many once-abundant species are now extinct, but according to a study released this month in the journal Amphibia-Reptilia, there may be hope.
The study discusses the rediscovery of the orange or yellow and black harlequin frog species, known as the clown frog or Halloween frog, which was declared extinct – then rediscovered – in Costa Rica twice, most recently in 2008.
The species is among several types of harlequin frogs that have re-emerged in Costa Rica since 2005 and scientists believe this could be the beginning of a slew of amphibian rediscoveries following massive population declines…
(read more: Tico Times)
photos: Matt McGee; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; Robert Pushendorf; University of Kansas;
Thought-to-be-extinct ‘halloween’ frog rediscovered in Costa Rica
by Rhett A. Butler
A breeding population of a critically endangered harlequin toad thought to be extinct in Costa Rica has been discovered in a tract of highland forest in the Central American country, reports a paper published in Amphibia-Reptilia.
Atelopus varius, an orange-and-black harlequin toad, was once relatively common from central Costa Rica to western Panama. But beginning in the 1980’s the species experienced a rapid population collapse across most of its range likely due to the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus that has been wiping out amphibian populations around the globe…
…a species of star-fingered toad that is endemic to Brazil. P. carvalhoi typically inhabits both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Ranging from forests, savannas, shrublands, marshes and ponds. Like other frogs P. carvalhoi likely feeds mostly on aquatic invertebrates and small fish.
Although Pipa carvalhoi is listed as least concern it is currently threatened by habitat loss.
Duttaphrynus melanostictus is commonly called the Asian Common Toad, Asian Toad, Black-spectacled Toad, Common Sunda Toad and Javanese Toad. It is probably a complex of more than one toad species that is widely distributed in South and Southeast Asia. The species grows to about 20 cm (8 in) long. It breeds during the monsoons and the tadpoles are black.
They breed in still and slow-flowing rivers and temporary and permanent ponds and pools. Adults are terrestrial and may be found under ground cover such as rocks, leaf-litter, logs, and are also associated with human habitations. The toads are often seen at night under street lamps especially in times when winged termites swarm. They have been noted to feed on a wide range of invertebrates including scorpions.
Pristine “Islands in the Sky” Are Window on Evolution
Unique plants and animals of South America’s tepuis (mesas) reveal rich secrets.
by Brian Clark Howard
Tepuis—high sandstone mesas that erupt from surrounding rain forest in southern Venezuela and part of adjacent Guyana and Brazil—have captivated scientists for centuries. Remote, ancient outcrops that soar up to 10,000 ft (3,000 m) high, tepuis have long been thought of as crucibles of evolution. Recent research confirms their biological importance, but also shatters the most romantic notions about them.
Tepuis are the real “islands in the sky,” Bruce Means, a herpetologist and ecologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, because their height—typically 5,000 to 10,000 ft (1,500 to 3,000 m)—effectively cuts them off from the surrounding rain forest. That means they host unique habitats and unique creatures.
The rock that makes up tepuis is thought to be 1.6 to 1.8 billion years old, said Means, who has visited the mountains with support from National Geographic. Part of a vast region called the Guiana Shield, the mesas were uplifted around 40 to 50 million years ago, and then the surrounding rock eroded away. Scientists had assumed that erosion would have left plants and animals stranded on the summits, cut off from the surrounding landscape for tens of millions of years…
(read more: National Geographic)
photos: Kukenan Tepuy in Gran Sabana National Park, Venezuela by Paolo Costa Baldi; Pebble Toad by Joe Riis, National Geo
Golden frogs, Atelopus zeteki, occur only in Panama and are a national symbol of this country. This species has declined in numbers by over 80% over the past decade, most likely due to mortality caused by chytridiomycosis disease. It is also threatened by collection for local zoos and hotels, illegal pet trading, deforestation, and habitat alteration by logging and farming.