-Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Diversity of Tico frog species recognized by journal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The scientific journal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation published in its last edition the article “The most frog-diverse place in Middle America” where it recognizes that Costa Rica has the largest variety of frog species in the lowland perennial forests of America.
According to the Tourism Institute, the study mentioned in the article was funded and led by the Veragua Foundation with the support of the School of Biology of the University of Costa Rica.
The study was carried out at the Veragua Rainforest National Park research site, located in the Bajo Chirripó Indigenous Reserve in Limón.
The goal of the Veragua Foundation is to promote the investigation of the flora and fauna of the tropical forest of the park and its surroundings, said the institute in its statements.
The study has an approach that describes the state of populations and also the natural history of the eight species characterized as threatened according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
In addition, the discovery of new populations of the red-eyed frog, Duellmanohyla uranochroa, shows the species is in danger of extinction.
Also, the study makes an addition to the fauna of Costa Rica, since the species Ecnomiohyla veraguensis appears in the country for the first time and is in danger of extinction.
"Another important aspect is that it is the only locality in Costa Rica of the Ecnomiohyla dancer species, and in the last 21 years only the marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta) has been found in this area," says the institute.
"The geographical areas of study are of great importance for the preservation of amphibians and of the surrounding forests in these mountainous areas, and it is also of great cultural value because of the presence of the Bajo Chirripó Indigenous Reserve in this sector," said the institute in its statement.
Costa Rica exhibits the greatest species richness per unit area in Middle America with a total of 215 species reported to date, said the specialist at the report. However, this number is likely an underestimate due to the presence of many unexplored areas that are difficult to access, the magazine noted.
According to the specialist, between 2012 and 2017, a monitoring survey of amphibians was conducted, on the northern edge of the mountains in the Talamanca mountain range to study the distribution patterns and natural history of species across this region, particularly those considered as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The results show the highest amphibian species richness among Middle America lowland evergreen forests with a remarkable representation of 64 species, said the specialist in its statement issued by the institute.
The greatest diversity in the study area occurred in the mature forest on the basal belt. Of the 68 amphibian species found, seven (10%) are endemic to the Atlantic slope and eight (11.6%) are threatened.
This survey includes the first record of Gastrotheca cornuta in Costa Rica since it was last reported 21 years ago. New populations of Agalychnis lemur (critically endangered) and Duellmanohyla uranochroa (endangered) are reported, and Ecnomiohyla veraguensis (endangered) is reported for the first time in Costa Rica. These findings show that this locality is a high priority conservation area for a large number of amphibian species, which are often threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, said the institute.
The full study can be reached at the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation site.
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