September 22nd, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Scientists discover amphibian species thought to be extinct

The Omaniundu reed frog hadn’t been observed since 1979

Three species of amphibians thought to be extinct for decades have been rediscovered, scientists announced Wednesday.

The three are the cave splayfoot salamander from Mexico, the Mount Nimba reed frog from the Ivory Coast and the Omaniundu reed frog from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The three were found as part of an effort by Conservation International and the Amphibious Specialty Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature to determine if 100 “lost” amphibian species are really extinct.

"These are fantastic finds and could have important implications for people as well as for amphibians,” said Robin Moore, who organized the Search for the Lost Frogs, the official name of the campaign. The creatures could help in medical research or just in protecting water resources, Moore said.

Several specimens of the salamander, of which only a lone individual was identified in 1941, were found in a system of caves accessible only by a pothole in Mexico’s Hidalgo province, Conservation International said.

The Mount Nimba reed frog, found by a local scientist in a swampy field near Ivory Coast’s border with Liberia, hadn’t been seen since 1967.

The Omaniundu reed frog hadn’t been observed since 1979. It was spotted in a flooded forest next to a Congo River tributary.

The first phase of the lost frogs project continues until next month when the Convention on Biological Diversity opens in Japan. Scientists hope they’ll have more successes to announce then, but Moore said it’s a tall task.

“These rediscovered animals are the lucky ones – many other species we have been looking for have probably gone for good," he said.

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soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. montyross

    nothing dramatic happened since they were declared extinct,they were only extinct in the minds of those looking for them.........

    September 24, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      lol yeah...
      It's like they think the world suddenly changed or something. We can apply whatever labels we want to things (extinct, extant, good, bad, etc) keeps spinnin'.

      September 27, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. descarado

    Extinct amphibian? Would that be one of those "moderate" Muslims everyone says exist?

    September 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. stac123

    O MYYYYY PEOPLE EVEN TAKE THEIR TIME TO ARGUE ABOUT FROGS ... THE INTERNET HAS DEMONS RUNNING THROUGH ITS CORDS ,,, ..every subject possable on this thing people are arguing ... true enough its funny ,,, but come on ,,,

    September 24, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. julie

    frogs are endangered for a reason its called kitrid a fungus and scientists are trying hard to save the frogs before they vanish. to think of them being used for scientific research is disturbing they should be out into safety to repopulate the areas once the disease is gone. i tell you we humans kill everything its called global warming. its affecting the animals and us. how many species have to vanish before something is done to save them instead of thinking about the human race. next snakes will go then other animals its all connected. can we care about something this little frog id gorgeous please lets protect it.

    September 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. God

    well.(smiles a sheepish grin). I had a few of these guys hiding in some old logs.. thought I'd let em out as a little surprise.
    I love surprises, as no doubt many of you have surmised.
    What boggles my mind is how many of you haven't surmised it (that I love surprises). I mean, it's not like there's
    a huge dearth of clues. Remember the coelo... ceolo... aw nuts (looks up spelling)
    coelocanth? Now that was practically like finding a dinosaur. What do I have to do next, let loose
    a whole cave of T-rex's (I chose 't-rex' so I wouldn't have to look up the spelling of some obscure long dinosaur name)
    Not that there are any, but you get the idea. I hope.

    September 25, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Satan

    God is just doing this to bedevil the likes of me.

    September 25, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim Morrison

    whew, that was close. For a moment I thought they had found where I've been hiding.

    September 25, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. floydfix69

    frogs are cool so help please find the yeti and bigfoot and the lost hillbilllys of pa

    September 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aldiggy2000

    *SQUASH* /checks shoe... yup, now it's extinct lol

    September 26, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. mizh

    There's hope for this planet yet... if the animals start disappearing, are we that far behind? After reading some of the infantile comments here, I hope these people are the first to go....

    September 26, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tyler

    A little more respect for each other guys, please. Thanks.

    I wonder what methods they undergo to classify something as extinct then...

    September 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Indeed. Obviously confirmation of a negative isn't that scientifically practical (or possible, even), so I imagine it's something like "species diversity surveys up until 20 years ago revealed persence of this species, but subsequent surveys consistently turned up no trace of them", or something to that effect.

      September 27, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Evan

    Maybe the three species are the not so lucky ones, and the rest will manage to remain hidden.

    September 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. donfitness

    Humans have some impact on the environment, but not as much as a 3 kilometer wide meteor.

    September 26, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MassiveMarbles

    ...and all this too shall pass...

    September 28, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. froggy lover


    September 28, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
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