Amphibian news round-up February 2017

by Jeff Dawson - March 6, 2017

Here’s a brief round-up and overview of some of the amphibian related news stories, have been in the press in the first two months of 2017.

Conserving and protecting a species takes is a long-term commitment, often involving ups and downs and plenty of effort. The case of the small, unassuming Romer’s tree frog Liuixalus romeri from Hong Kong is a case in point. Discovered in the 1950’s, declared extinct a short time later before being re-found in the 1980’s. Since then it has been the subject of multi-pronged conservation efforts and is an example of one of the first successful translocation projects ever for an amphibian. Whilst conservation efforts are still needed, this is a real success story for amphibian conservation and can be read about here.

We all know that amphibians are pretty amazing with plenty of incredible adaptations and bizarre abilities. Well, another ‘superpower’ to the list with research confirming that frogs and toads of the genera Bufo and Rana can see colour in extreme darkness when we would not be able to see anything at all! This apparently unique ability likely means they have the best night vision of any vertebrate species. Read the article here.

Some further good news for one of the species SAFE is working on – the Titicaca water frog. January saw the announcement that the Peruvian government is going to build ten water treatment plants on tributaries to Lake Titicaca (see here). As well as improving the welfare and livelihood of local communities this will hopefully reduce pollution events which have caused mass-die offs of frogs in recent years. In the meantime, we will continue to work with local partners across the border in Bolivia to address the threat of over-harvesting.

Photo: Common frog Rana temporaria – common but with super vision! Photo: Josh Raper (Wildscreen Exchange)