Six Species of 'Lost Frogs' Found in Haiti (Photos)

haiti la selle grass frog photo
Still missing: The La Selle grass frog. Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

One year after an earthquake devastated the country, a team of biologists have stumbled upon a clutch of amphibians that represent a new hope for Haiti's biodiversity. Scientists from Conservation International and the Amphibian Specialist Group of the IUCN have reported that six "lost" species of frogs have been discovered high in Haiti's fragile mountain forests.SLIDESHOW: 10 Strange New Frog Species

The team's ultimate goal was to find a live La Selle Grass frog, E. glanduliferoides, which hasn't been seen in the wild in more than 25 years. While this elusive frog remains hidden, the team stumbled upon six other "lost" species.

Robin Moore, an amphibian conservation specialist with Conservation International, explained:

It was incredible...we went in looking for one missing species and found a treasure trove of others. That, to me, represents a welcome dose of resilience and hope for the people and wildlife of Haiti.

Their findings included:

haiti hispaniolan ventriloqual frog photo
Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

The Hispaniolan Ventriloquial frog, or Eleutherodactylus dolomedes, last seen in 1991. The frog is named after its unique call, which it projects like the ventriloquist, throwing its voice to confuse potential predators.

haiti mozarts frog photo
Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

Mozart's frog, E. amadeus which is named after an audiospectrogram of its call that coincidentally resembled musical notes.

haiti la hotte glanded frog photo
Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

The La Hotte glanded frog, E. glandulifer, which is notable for its striking blue sapphire-colored eyes, a highly unusual trait among amphibians.

haiti macaya breast spot frog photo
Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

The Macaya breast-spot frog E. thorectes, one of the smallest frogs in the world. In Haiti, this species only occurs on two isolated peaks in the Massif de la Hotte.

haiti hispaniola crowned frog photo
Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

The Hispaniolan crowned frog, E. corona which, prior to this most recent expedition, was known from less than 10 individuals.

haiti macaya burrowing frog photo
Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

The Macaya burrowing frog, E. parapelates, which is notable for its big jet-black eyes and bright orange flashes on the legs.

A Tenuous Hope

"Finding six lost species in these relatively small corners of the country," Moore added, "tells us that, despite tremendous human pressures, nature is hanging on in Haiti. There is reason to hope."

Hope, however, that hangs on the condition of proper management. The forests that these frogs call home have been ravaged by earthquakes and human-driven deforestation. Across the country, a staggering 90 percent of amphibians are considered threatened, compared to 30 percent worldwide.

haiti deforestation in massif de la hotte photo
Deforestation in the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti. Photo credit: Robin Moore/iLCP

"A common assumption about Haiti," Moore said, "is that there is nothing left to save." These recent findings show that in the minuscule two percent of native forest that remains in Haiti, there is a compelling reason to make management work—indeed, to protect every bit of natural wealth that can be recovered.

Read more about Haiti:
The Race to Save Haiti's 50 Endangered Frog Species From Extinction
A Better, Stronger Haiti: Seven Ways to Make the Recovery Efforts Last
10 Ways to Help the Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts
Haiti: Toxic Waste Dump Site Before the Earthquake, Lucrative Cleanup Contract After
Read more about frogs:
Toads with Big Noses, Fiery Eyes, and More Discovered in Colombia (Photos)
Two Prisoners Raise Endangered Frogs by Hand
Frog Bites Off More Than It Can Chew, Eats Entire Snake

Tags: Animals | Conservation | Endangered Species

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