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: Bear cub found dead in Spanish Pyrenees

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Bear cub found dead in Spanish Pyrenees

4 hours ago

A brown bear cub that was part of an effort to reintroduce the species to the Pyrenees mountains has been found dead on the Spanish side of the mountain range, local officials said Monday.

Boy moms more social in chimpanzees

4 hours ago

Nearly four decades of observations of Tanzanian chimpanzees has revealed that the mothers of sons are about 25 percent more social than the mothers of daughters. Boy moms were found to spend about two hours ...

Toxin targets discovered

6 hours ago

Research that provides a new understanding of how bacterial toxins target human cells is set to have major implications for the development of novel drugs and treatment strategies.

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.