Sunday, 28 December 2014

Rediscovery of the critically endangered streamside frog, Craugastor taurus (Craugastoridae), in Costa Rica - via Herp Digest



Mongabay.com Open Access Journal-Tropical Conservation Science Vol.7 (4): pages 628-638 2014 

Gerardo Chaves1, *Héctor Zumbado-Ulate1,2, Adrián García-Rodríguez1,6, Edwin Gómez3, Vance Thomas Vredenburg4 and Mason J. Ryan

1 Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica 
2 Asociación para la Conservación y el Estudio de la Biodiversidad, San José, Costa Rica 
3 Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, San José, Costa Rica 
4 Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, 94132-1722 USA 
5 Department of Biology and Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-0001 USA 
6 Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brasil, 59078-900 
*Hector Zumbado-Ulate (corresponding author: hugozu1@yahoo.com)


Abstract 
In 1987 the amphibian decline crisis reached its apex in Costa Rica when at least 17 species experienced population crashes and subsequently went undetected for decades. The amphibian declines in Costa Rica were relatively well documented and came to exemplify the current global amphibian decline crisis. The Mesoamerica endemic frog clade, the Craugastor punctariolus species group, is one of most severely affected anuran clades, experiencing a loss of 26 out of 33 species throughout Mesoamerica. Eight species of C. punctariolus group frogs occur in Costa Rica, and all declined following the 1987 die-off; despite intensive surveys over the last 14 years, most remain undetected. To date, only one species in this group, the stream-breeding frog C. ranoides, in known to have a stable population, and only in the Santa Elena Peninsula. Here we document the rediscovery of another species, the South Pacific streamside frog C. taurus, in southeastern Costa Rica, representing the first sighting after fifteen years of searching. We discovered two previously unknown populations in Punta Banco, the driest section within the historical range, in an area representing only 4% of the historical distribution. Our findings add to the short but growing list of recently rediscovered amphibian species in Costa Rica and provide encouraging news in an otherwise discouraging situation for amphibian conservation. Additional research and monitoring are urgently needed to develop long-term management plans for this and other Critically Endangered species.

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