Underestimation of frog numbers causes concern

Oct 31, 2007

Frogs are vanishing from all the world's ecosystems with unprecedented speed. It is thought that more than 100 species have died out since 1980 alone.

In a paper published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, a team of experts, including researchers from the University of Canterbury, says the number of species has been strongly underestimated and they are calling for action.

The researchers from France and New Zealand collected and collated more than 500 DNA sequences, including 60 previously recognised species, occurring in the Guiana Shield, which harbours the largest continuous tract of virgin tropical rainforest.

This region of Amazonia comprises French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, eastern Venezuela and northern Brazil.

PhD researcher Antoine Fouquet says the samples revealed an astonishing level of cryptic diversity, with the number of species identified potentially two-fold greater than previously thought.

Antoine says such underestimation of amphibian diversity has broad implications for the management of biodiversity, and particularly that of many Neotropical amphibians which are considered highly threatened.

He says frogs are the "canaries in the coal mine" and their current decline is regarded as an indicator of the environmental crisis.

"Given the unique evolutionary history of the Guiana Shield region, and its nearly pristine condition, it is critical that there is greater understanding of its frog species."

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Researchers discover how petunias know when to smell good

Related Stories

A lost frog in the lost world?

Jul 17, 2013

Ecotourism and Conservation - Can it work? In the context of a study in the forests of Central Guyana, a team of scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Dresden investigated this very question ...

Dolphins have ability to sense electrical signals

Jul 29, 2011

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers reveal the discovery of how the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis, is able to sense electric fields of prey in the water using ...

Researchers find 24 new species in Suriname rainforest

Jun 04, 2007

Scientists exploring the remote highlands of eastern Suriname discovered 24 species believed to be new to science, including a frog with florescent purple markings and other amphibians, fish and insects.

Recommended for you

Can pollution help trees fight infection?

46 minutes ago

Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens. "It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological ...

Improving rice flour to aid food poverty

46 minutes ago

A new, high-quality rice flour could help towards aiding global food poverty. "This rice flour serves not only as an alternative to wheat flour for those with wheat intolerance, but could also help to overcome ...

Stink bugs have strong taste for ripe fruit

2 hours ago

The brown marmorated stink bug has a bad reputation. And for good reason: every summer, this pest attacks crops and invades homes, causing both sizable economic losses and a messy, smelly nuisance—especially ...

Researchers discover how petunias know when to smell good

4 hours ago

Good timing is a matter of skill. You would certainly dress up for an afternoon business meeting, but not an evening session of binge-watching Netflix. If you were just a few hours off in your wardrobe timing, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.