The "Lost Frog" Quest: Researchers Seek the World's Rarest Amphibians

By Eliza Strickland | August 9, 2010 3:05 pm

frog-mapIn 18 countries around the world, biologists are setting out what may be fruitless quests. Conservation International is sponsoring expeditions to seek 40 amphibian species that haven’t been spotted for over a decade, and that may well be extinct. The group hopes its “Search for Lost Frogs” project will draw attention to the plight of amphibians, which are threatened by fungal diseases, toxic chemicals, habitat loss, and climate change–some researchers even say the global population decline is a sign that the world’s sixth mass extinction event is underway.

Dr Robin Moore, of Conservation International, a US-based charity, said: “This role as the global ‘canary in a coalmine’ means that the rapid and profound change to the global environment that has taken place over the last 50 years or so – in particular climate change and habitat loss – has had a devastating impact on these incredible creatures.” [The Guardian]

Still, the biologists hope they’ll find that some of these 40 species are still hanging on. “Although there is no guarantee of success,” Conservation International said in a press release, “scientists are optimistic about the prospect of at least one rediscovery.”

The group also compiled a list of the 10 “most wanted” species. Photo gallery after the jump.


Related Content:
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80beats: How the Frog-Killing Fungus Does Its Dirty Work
80beats: Salamanders Are Quietly Vanishing From Central American Cloud Forests
DISCOVER: Are Frogs Hopping Straight Into Extinction?
DISCOVER: 10 Studies That Revealed the Great Global Amphibian Die-Off–and Some Possible Solutions

Images: Conservation International

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Photo Gallery
  • Angela Potrykus

    Hello Ms. Strickland,

    I am a producer for Global Journalist, a radio program hosted by University of Missouri professor Charles Davis. Our weekly show is broadcast on KBIA-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate in Columbia, Missouri, USA. Additionally, we are associated with the International Press Institute. To listen to past programs or to read the online version of our magazine, please visit our website at

    Because the U.N. has declared this year as the International Year of Biodiversity, this week’s topic is “the loss of biodiversity–and the ensuing effects.” We hope to have guests from the Amazon, Southeast Asia and North America. We also want to include a journalist who can specifically discuss the frog search project, we thought you would be a great candidate in this area.

    The program will tape on Thursday, August 12, at 9:00 am central time zone. The maximum time required is 35 minutes- five minutes to get all guests on the line and 30 minutes for recording. If you are unable to join the program, would you suggest a colleague who might be able to participate?

    A prompt reply would be greatly appreciated. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the program.

    Thank you!

    Angela Potrykus
    Producer, Global Journalist
    +1 720-209-2331

  • Katylee

    Last week when my husband lifted the lid to our guestroom toilet, he found a little green/white/black frog sitting on the porcelin rim. I put him in our herb garden outside. Can frogs come up through the toilet system? There is no other way he could have arrived. What are the chances there are more?


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