Researchers from Michigan State University and collaborators in Ecuador have discovered that up to 32 frog species thought to be extinct may not be.
“I can’t tell you how special it is to hold something we never thought we’d see again,” said Kyle Jaynes. She is the study’s lead author and this statement was published in the journal Biological Conservation. Jaynes is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrative Biology and the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program at Michigan State University (EBB).
Harlequin frogs that were thought to be extinct have been rediscovered in the last two decades. Researchers hope that the news will spur action to protect and conserve the rediscovered species.
“We want people to walk away from this with a glimmer of hope that we can still address the problems of the biodiversity crisis,” said Jaynes, who works in Sarah Fitzpatrick’s lab at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, an assistant professor in the College of Natural Science.
“However, rediscovery does not imply recovery,” Jaynes explained. “This isn’t the end of the story for these frogs. We’re still not where we want to be in terms of conservation and protection.” “We still have a lot to learn and do.”
The team also included Luis Coloma and Andrea Terán-Valdez from the Jambatu Center for the Investigation and Conservation of Amphibians, Mónica Páez-Vacas and David Salazar-Valenzuela from the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica, Juan Guayasamin from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and Fausto Siavichay from the Amaru Zoológico Bioparque.
Outside of professional research and conservation, invaluable contributions have also been made. The team collaborates with Ecuadorian communities, including Indigenous communities, who value frogs just as much as the researchers do.