Worldwide things are looking dire on the amphibian front, the Chytrid disease has been spreading fast and there is as yet no treatment, one billion frogs also end up as food for humans each year, or used in traditional medicines and rituals.
Yet there are still pieces of good news from the amphibian world, an expedition by Frontiers has discovered 15 new species in Tanzania’s remote mountain forests. Some of these are bizarre looking, brightly coloured and covered in lumps, bumps and growths. But the most unusual characteristic displayed by the newly found Nectophrynoides toads is that they give birth to live offspring rather than laying eggs.
As well as these toads there is a new type of very cute looking burrowing toad belonging to the genus Probreviceps, unfortunately, this little toad is already in danger from habitat loss, the ecologically important forests in which it lives are rapidly being felled.
The success of this expedition shows the need for more exploration into the more remote forests, valleys and mountains to record and protect the animal inhabitants of these places before their homes vanish forever.
If these adorable lumpy bumpy and burrowing toads are not enough to catch your attention to the plight facing our planet’s amphibians then perhaps the ever photogenic tree frog will do the trick, the new one found in Tanzania is from the genus Leptopelis, and I cannot imagine looking into its huge browny gold eyes and telling it I don’t care about frogs and their kin.
It is unfortunate that there are many types of amphibian that are heading towards the same fate as the famous golden toad, but this does not have to happen, if a cure can be found for the disease, important habitats protected and responsible collecting methods for the food and pet trades enforced then who knows how many new species we will find in the future. If those things are not done then it is almost inevitable that many species of amphibian will disappear before science, (and the rest of us) has even had a chance to see them.