June 16, 2009—A bug-eyed salamander and a colorful poison frog are among 12 species possibly new to science recently found in the mountains of Ecuador. Video.
© 2009 National Geographic; video and photographs courtesy Conservation International
Researchers found several species in remote mountains in Ecuador, including a transparent frog, and an ugly salamander, which is among 4 amphibians believed new to science.
The discoveries were part of a mission by Conservation International and partner organizations, concentrated on the Upper Nangaritza River Basin near the border with Peru.
While the glass frog, or crystal frog is not new to science, the species is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List. You can see their internal organs through their translucent skin, and its discovery here adds an important habitat to its range.
The new discoveries include a tiny poison arrow frog, seen here carrying one of its tadpoles.a lizard that is potentially new to science
And a salamander resembling E.T. and dubbed the ugly salamander. salamanders of this particular genus are rare, nocturnal forest dwellers that, in Ecuador arent generally found in forests above 3200 feet.
In April, more than 20 researchers camped out in the rain forest for 2 weeks as part of a Rapid Assessment Program to quickly identify species. Here, a researcher is collecting a species of bat.
The Upper Nangaritza River Basin is geologically isolated from other parts of the Andes mountains, which likely helps stimulate the evolution of species which are found nowhere else.
Conservation International is hoping the discoveries will encourage the government of Ecuador to strengthen protection of the area.