Two new frog species from Panama
December 03, 2012
Two new frog species were discovered just northeast of Panama City. Unfortunately they may be among the next victims of the fatal fungal disease decimating highland frogs worldwide, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
Anomaloglossus isthminus, first collected in 1974 near the El Llano-Cartí Road, was mistakenly called Colostethus chocoensis. STRI's Roberto Ibáñez and César Jaramillo found the same species in streams at two more locations during a 1997 survey of the Panama Canal watershed. This species made the short list of endangered frogs to be saved by the Smithsonian's Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.
Taxonomist Charles Myers at the American Museum of Natural History realized that this was a new species by examining the specimens' tongues. Among the few specimens examined, he identified a second closely related species, collected in the indigeous comarca of Kuna Yala in 1985 by Jorge Roldán. Myers named this one Anomaloglossus astralogaster for the starry pattern on its belly.
Captive breeders need tens of individuals to save a species from extinction. So far, too few of these frogs have been found to successfully breed them in captivity.