About 200 New Species Of Amphibians In Madagascar Discovered

A study with participation of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) identified between 129 and 221 new species of frogs from Madagascar, which practically doubles the currently known amphibian fauna.

Photo:

Photo: Boophis aff elenae. (Credit: Miguel Vences)

This study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, suggests that the number of amphibian species in Madagascar, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, has been significantly underestimated. According to the researchers, if these results are extrapolated at a global scale, the number of amphibian species worldwide could double.

As Professor David R. Vieites, CSIC researcher at the Spanish National Natural Sciences Museum in Madrid, states:

“the diversity of species in Madagascar is far from being known and there is still a lot of scientific research to be done. Our data suggest that the number of new species of amphibians not only has been underestimated but it is spatially widespread, even in well studied areas. For example, two of the most visited and studied National parks, Ranomafana and Mantadía/Analamazaotra, harbour 31 and 10 new species respectively”.

Dr. Frank Glaw, curator of herpetology at the Zoologische Staatssammlung from Munich explains:” During the past 15 years, we discovered and described over 100 new frog species from Madagascar, which led us to believe that our species inventory is almost complete. But as our new surveys show, there are many more species than we suspected”.

The paper suggests that the total biodiversity on the island could be much higher also in other groups, so the actual destruction of natural habitats may be affecting more species than previously thought. This is important for conservation planning, as the rate of destruction of rainforests in Madagascar has been one of the highest in the planet, with more than 80% of the historic surface of rainforest already lost.

Full story at ScienceDaily…

Kirtland Peterson

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