Rare frog caught on film during Manchester rainforest expedition

Sep 08, 2008

An incredibly rare frog has been captured on camera for the first time during an expedition by University of Manchester scientists to the rain forests of Central America.

The red-eyed stream frog is normally found in Costa Rica, but it is now thought to be critically endangered.

The tiny, vividly coloured frog was spotted by a team from the University of Manchester, Chester Zoo and Costa Rican naturalists - and caught on camera by a journalist from BBC News, who is travelling with the team.

Speaking to the BBC, conservation expert Andrew Gray, from Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester, who is leading the expedition, said: "This frog has been classified as being one of the most critically endangered frogs in Costa Rica.

"They are so rare and locating them is extremely difficult - we have been very lucky to find it. We believe that this particular species has never been filmed before."

The red-eyed stream frog, or Duellmanohyla uranochroa, measures just 2 to 3cm in length, and has bright red eyes and a vivid green colour.

This male was discovered in the Monteverde cloud forest area where it was sitting above a stream calling for a female.

The team played a recording of the soft, whistle-like call of another male red-eyed stream frog, which prompted him to call back, enabling them to locate the little amphibian.

In recent days, Dr Mark Dickinson from The Photon Science Institute at The University has been able to use a small, portable pen-like device called a spectrometer to examine the properties of this frog's skin. This non-invasive technique allows them to see how much light the frog is reflecting.

The researchers believe that the ability to sit out in the sun may allow the frogs' skin to heat up just enough to kill off chytrid - preventing the disease from taking its grip.

Full coverage of the expedition by BBC Online can be found at:
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597865.stm

Provided by University of Manchester

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