Thursday 6 February 2020

Rare Bolivian "Glass" Frogs Rediscovered After 18 Years - via Herp Digest

By Carlos Dela Vega ( 1/3020 Jan 30, 2020

Bolivian Cochran frogs that were originally found in South American countries, have not been seen for nearly two decades, according to a published report in Remezcla.

This species is known for translucent skin and are more commonly known as "glass frogs" because of their vitreous bellies reveal their internal organs. Luckily, after nearly two decades, this rare species was spotted once again in the Carrasco National Park, near the central city of Cochabamba, on January 8.

A group of conservationists were on an expedition to rescue vulnerable animals like reptiles and amphibians that are facing an increased risk of endangerment due to an ongoing hydroelectric project in the area.

Researchers told the AFP News agency, "The rediscovery of this species fills us with a ray of hope for the future of the glass frogs - one of the most charismatic amphibians in the world - but also for other species." 

This extremely rare species is called "ranas de cristal" in Spanish, and is very recognizable. You can also see the heart of this frog beating as if it were on display behind their skin.

The Bolivian Cochran frogs weigh between 70 to 80 grams and measure 19 to 24 millimeters. Meanwhile, Cochran frogs found in Carrasco National Park were reported to have a white chest. Male Cochran frogs are described to have dark green bones and vocal sacs.

Part of the team who discovered this rare species was Rodrigo Aguayo and Oliver Quinteros, from the Natural History Museum "Alcide d'Orbigny," and Rene Carpio of the San Simon University in Cochabamba.  

Latin America and Bolivia are generally known to hold some of the richest ecosystems on the planet. Meanwhile, Bolivia is one of the top 15 most-diverse countries in the world and 24 new species have been discovered since 2014, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Bolivia adopted The Law of Mother Earth in 2010, the law requires every citizen in the country to uphold and respect the rights of Mother Earth and this includes the Bolivian Cochran frog that is currently threatened by degradation and habitat destruction.

The Latin American Wildlife Trafficking Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Adrian Reuter, said that the expansion of commercial agriculture is a particular threat. He also said that amphibians like the Cochran frogs have to contend with an infectious fungal disease and this has been linked to the drastic decline of some species of amphibians. 

Moreover, the re-discovered Bolivian Cochran frogs have been taken to the K'ayra Amphibian Conservation Center along with Aguayo, Quinteros, and Carpio's frogs at Alcide d'Orbigny museum. The newly found amphibian will join the two other frogs, Romeo and Juliet. 

There have been efforts made to breed Romeo and Juliet, but until now they have not yet successfully produced offspring. This is done to preserve the endangered species, and help Mother Earth continue to balance the natural habitats of animals. 

It is still unknown whether the frogs will continue to procreate, but seeing as how they were rediscovered after 18 years, it's safe to say that they can take care of themselves. Nevertheless, conservationists and others will be sure to assist these magnificent beings along the way.

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