Saturday, 21 April 2012

20 – 30 new frogs discovered in Madagascan forest

Potential amphibian gold mine discovered in a 2228 hectare fragment of Madagascan forest
April 2012. Betampona Nature Reserve of protects one of the last remaining relicts (about 2,228 ha) of low elevation rainforests in eastern Madagascar. Yet little research has been undertaken about the amphibian fauna of this rainforest. During 2004 and 2007, Betampona was surveyed over a total period of 102 days using three different techniques: Opportunistic searching, pitfall trapping and acoustic surveys.
The survey work confirmed the occurrence of 76 species of amphibian, of which 36 are currently candidate species (Candidate for listing as an endangered or threatened species) and about 30% were first considered as undescribed species. 24 of these species are potentially endemic to this low elevation eastern region.
Hugely important relic forest
Considering the relatively small area of the Betampona forest, and its narrow elevational range, 76 amphibian species represents an unusually high richness compared to other sites in Madagascar. Although the eastern region is now largely deforested, these results reveal the importance of this relict forest, which is protecting a diverse amphibian fauna that includes many potentially new and endemic species.
150 new species in last 10 years
The number of newly identified frog species during the last decade exceeds 150, most of them still undescribed, and some authors believe that the total number of amphibian species in Madagascar may reach more than 500.

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