"A common assumption about Haiti is that there is nothing left to save", said Conservation International's Amphibian Conservation Specialist Robin Moore. Conservation International, along with Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University and the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found six frogs that had previously been labeled as extinct.
With this exciting discovery also comes a warning from Hedges, "The biodiversity of Haiti, including its frogs, is approaching a mass extinction event caused by massive and nearly complete deforestation. Unless the global community comes up with a solution soon, we will lose many unique species forever."
On the year anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake, the country is in dire need of help, and "clearly, the health of Haiti's frogs is not anyone's primary concern here. However, the ecosystems these frogs inhabit, and their ability to support life, is critically important to the long-term well-being of Haiti's people, who depend on healthy forests for their livelihoods, food security and fresh water. Amphibians are what we call barometer species of our planet's health. They're like the canaries in the coal mine. As they disappear, so too do the natural resources people depend upon to survive," Moore said.
Shown here, La Hotte glanded frog, last seen in 1991.
Another shot of the la hotte glanded frog. This frog has striking blue sapphire-colored eyes, which is unusual for amphibians.
The Macaya burrowing frog was last seen in 1998. The discovery of this frog in Haiti was the first record of the species in the area.
The Mozart's frog, last seen in 1991, was named after the composer when an audiospectrogram of his call looked like musical notes.
The Hispaniolan crowned frog was last seen in 1991 and is extremely rare.
The Macaya breast-spot frog was last seen in 1991, and at the size of a green grape, this frog is one of the smallest in the world.
The Hispaniolan ventriloquial frog was last seen in 1991, and is named after its call, which it projects like a ventriloquist.
Next, see more recently discovered and rediscovered amphibians.
Three new amphibians were discovered in western Colombia. Finding these new species was a group discovery made by Conservation International (CI), the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Fundación ProAves.
Finding three new species in such a short space of time speaks to the incredibly rich biodiversity of these relatively unexplored forests and highlights their importance for conservation. Protecting these habitats into the future will be essential to ensure the survival of both the amphibians and the benefits that they bring to ecosystems and people, said Conservations International's amphibian conservation specialist Robin Moore.
Shown here, a new beaked toad species.
Learn more about Conservation Internationals Lost Frogs Search.
This small toad, about 3-4cm in length, is of undetermined genus. The toad's striking bright red eye's make him unique. According to Conservation International, "This highly unusual species has scientists baffled they know nothing about this species other than where it lives, which is around 2,000m elevation in the Chocó montane rainforest. Scientists trekked up very steep slopes to reach the habitat where they found the new toad."
This funny-looking toad skips the tadpole stage and instead lays its eggs on the forest floor. The toad's color and head shape make it resemble the dead leaves on which it lives.
When describing the new species of beaked toad, shown here, Moore described it as "easily one of the strangest amphibians I have ever seen. Its long pointy snout-liked nose reminds me of the nefarious villain, Mr. Burns, from The Simpsons television series."
The third amphibian species found in western Colombia was a rocket frog, a type of poison dart frog found living in and around steams.
The new rocket frog species is quite tiny, estimated to grow no larger then 3cm. They carry newly hatched tadpoles on their backs and deposit them in water to complete their development.
Next: Check out more newly discovered and rediscovered amphibians.
There was more then a small amount of excitement over Conservation International's announcement of the discovery of one of the world's tiniest frogs. These mini creatures were found living inside and around pitcher plants in the heath forests of the Southeast Asian Island Borneo.
"I saw some specimens in museum collections that are over 100 years old. Scientists presumably thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly discovered micro species," said Indraneil Das. Das along with Alexander Haas of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum of Hamburg were responsible for the discovery, with support from the Volkswagen Foundation.
Shown here, a frog sitting on a fingernail.
These little guys are literally the size of a pea. Adult males of the new species range between 10.6 and 12.8 mm., less then half an inch, making them very hard to find. But their singing gave them away; the frogs were tracked by their call. Listen to their call.
"Amphibians are quite sensitive to changes in their surroundings, so we hope the discovery of these miniature frogs will help us to understand what changes in the global environment are having an impact on these fascinating animals," said Conservation International's Robin Moore, who has organized the search on behalf of IUCN's Amphibian Specialist Group.
The mini-frogs were discovered on pitcher plants like these.
NEXT: Learn more about endangered and possibly extinct frogs and what the scientific community is doing to find them.
According to Conservation International "the diverse class of creatures known as Amphibia is the most threatened group of vertebrates on the planet. Habitat loss, disease and climate change have caused some species to vanish without a trace in a single breeding season; however, the status of many of the worlds amphibians is currently unknown due to limited and outdated research."
Shown here: Atelopus peruensis, or Peru stubfoot toad, native to Peru and listed on the Conservation International Lost Frog list.
Lucky for us, and for these amphibians, "teams of scientists around the world have launched an unprecedented search in the hope of rediscovering 100 species of 'lost' amphibians animals considered potentially extinct but that may be holding on in a few remote places," announced Conservation International.
Shown here: Atelopus tricolor, or three-colored stubfoot toad, native to Peru from the Conservation International Lost Frog list.
"Amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in the environment, so they are often an indicator of damage that is being done to ecosystems," explains Conservation International's Robin Moore, who has organized the search for IUCN's Amphibian Specialist Group. "But this role as the global 'canary in a coal-mine' means that the rapid and profound change to the global environment that has taken place over the last 50 years or so in particular climate change and habitat loss has had a devastating impact on these incredible creatures. We've arranged this search for 'lost' species that we believe may have managed to hang on so that we can get some definite answers and hopefully learn about what has allowed some tiny populations of certain species to survive when the rest of their species has been lost."
Shown here: Plectrohyla hazelae, or hazel's treefrog, native to Mexico from Conservation International's Lost Frog list.
Amphibians' skin is moist and permeable, making them especially susceptible to environmental changes.
Shown here: Hyperolius nimbae, or Nimba reed frog, native to the Ivory cost and listed on Conservation International's Lost Frog list.
Two species of gastric brooding frog were found in Australia as early as 1914, but have not been seen since 1985. Female gastric brooding frogs swallow their eggs, raise the tadpoles in their stomachs and give birth through their mouths. According to Conservation International, "during the brooding stage, the frogs' stomachs temporarily stopped producing hydrochloric acid. This condition could have provided insight on the treatment of stomach ulcers in humans" making them one of the most-wanted "lost" frogs for scientists.
The Atelopus sorianoi or scarlet frog, hasn't been seen in 20 years. It's native to southwestern Venezuela, and is listed as critically endangered.