Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Glass" Frog Discovered in Ecuador

On their recent trip to the mountainous rain forests of Nangaritza, Ecuador, scientists from Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) discovered seven new insects, a new lizard, and four more amphibians. Vice President of CI’s RAP group, Leeanne Alonso, said, “the species that we discovered on this expedition are fascinating and make clear how biologically important this area is – not only because of the wealth of plants and animals that inhabit it but also because of the service that it provides to local people, like clean water and the opportunities for income from ecotourism. It is crucial that it is protected properly.”

Along with the new species the scientists discovered, RAP also found a Nymphagus Chancas, a glass or crystal frog for the first time in Ecuador. The species have been recorded previously in northeastern Peru.

The Nymphagus Chancas is named for its translucent skin, which allows scientists to examine the frog’s internal organs. They are classified by their lack of webbing on their outer fingers, their lack of humeral spines in adult males, and their lobbed livers. Their natural habitats are subtropical or tropical montane rivers and forests.

According to Conservation International, the number of amphibians is in serious decline due to the global climate change, infectious diseases, and loss of habitat from deforestation and logging. CI endorses the introduction of amphibian habitats where these populations can live without the threat of deforestation. Conservation International also plans to use captive breeding programs to save amphibians from the threat of disease.

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