After 87 years of evasion, herpetologists have finally re-discovered the lost Borneo rainbow toad. The toad was last seen in Borneo in 1924 and European explorers recorded only monochrome illustrations of the vibrantly colored amphibian. The mysterious species was added a decade or so later to the World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs Campaign. Read below to here more of the re-discovery.
For more information on biodiversity conservation in Borneo, please visit: http://borneoproject.org/borneo/biodiversity-conservation
First ever photos of lost Borneo rainbow toad, rediscovered after 87 years
The spindly-legged species was last seen in 1924 and European explorers in Borneo only made monochrome illustrations of it. A decade or so later, the CI and the SSC Amphibian Specialist Group added the species to its World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs campaign.
Indraneil Das of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak decided to hunt down the lost frog, and his team looked in the nearby area of Western Sarawak. In the summer of 2010 they made evening searches along the 1,329 metre high ridges of the Gunung Penrissen range to look for the toad.
After months of fruitless hunting, Das decided to include higher elevations in the team’s search. Then, one night, graduate student Pui Yong Min found the small toad two metres up a tree. Later they found another.
In the end the team had found three individuals of the missing toad species — an adult female, an adult male and a juvenile, ranging in size from 51 mm to 30 mm. All three toads exhibited those gangly limbs and the brightly coloured patterns on their backs.
Talking about his team’s discovery, Das says, “They remind us that nature still holds precious secrets that we are still uncovering, which is why targeted protection and conservation is so important.”
Robin Moore of Conservation International agrees, saying, “it is good to know that nature can surprise us when we are close to giving up hope, especially amidst our planet’s escalating extinction crisis.”
The slender-legged critter is only the second species on the “World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs” list to be found. In September 2010, the Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad was rediscovered in Ecuador after 15 years of hiding. The spotty frog is sadly clinging on to survival.
The other frogs include the Costa Rican golden toad, the Australian gastric brooding frog, the Mesopotamia beaked toad from Colombia, Jackson’s climbing salamander, the African painted frog, the Venezuelan scarlet frog, the hula painted frog and the Turkestanian salamander — this hide and seek champion hasn’t been seen since 1909.