In Search of Lost Frogs

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Frogs are essential to several key ecosystems; they are also a leading indicator of the rate of species extinctions and the health of our planet.

In Search of Lost Frogs: The Quest to Find the World's Rarest Amphibians

In , conservationist and wildlife photographer Robin Moore spearheaded the Search for Lost Frogs campaign, coordinating teams on five continents to find frogs, toads, and salamanders that had not been seen in decades. Illustrated with exquisite close-up photos that capture the frogs' remarkable coloring and camouflage, and reveal their often diminutive size, this book follows Moore and his colleagues as they trudge through rainforest, climb mountains, and paddle rivers across Haiti and Colombia in search of elusive creatures like the orange-and-black Variable Harlequin Frog of Costa Rica.

He's wrapped 70, words around his photographs, sharing the wonder of the animals and explaining the vital role they play in countless ecosystems. In a year, scientists in froggy parts of the world found 20 of the 'lost' frogs—one of which had last been seen in The Mesopotamian beaked toad , to be precise, which has been missing for almost years.

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The last person to see it, an American biologist, Gladwin Noble, was also the man who discovered it. I wonder whether the fact that it has been mislaid for so long has anything to do with the misleading name he gave it, which suggests we should be looking under rocks in Turkey instead of scrabbling through leaf litter, as we are, in the Colombia jungle.

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  • The reality is that this toad is just one of thousands of amphibians vanishing off the face of the planet. These cold-blooded creatures are in the grip of the worst extinction crisis since the dinosaurs were wiped out, with more than a third of all species now fighting for survival.

    In many cases they are disappearing rapidly, largely because of the holy trinity of environmental bogeymen: climate change, pollution and habitat loss — and also a killer fungus that attacks their skin, preventing it from absorbing essential salts and causing cardiac arrest.

    Over the next few months there will be expeditions in 18 countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia to track down amphibians believed to be missing in action.

    Many are evolutionary oddities, distinct in their class, such as the gastric brooding frog of Australia, which incubates its young in its stomach. Their loss is significant, not only to nature but also to science.

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