Search for Lost Frogs
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Expedition Teams

 The Search for Lost Frogs

From August to December 2010, CI supported expeditions in 21 countries to search for amphibian species not seen in over a decade. Here’s what we found.
Rediscovering lost amphibians around the world

View a Map of the Rediscoveries

LEARN MORE: See the results of each expedition, including photos of the rediscovered frogs and links to their field dispatches

Ranging from tiny poison dart frogs to the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus), the diverse class of creatures known as Amphibia is the most threatened group of vertebrates on the planet.

Habitat loss, disease and climate change have caused some species to vanish without a trace in a single breeding season; however, the status of many of the world's amphibians is currently unknown due to limited and outdated research.

The Search for Lost Frogs, launched in August 2010 by Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), with support from Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), sought to document the survival status and whereabouts of threatened amphibian species not seen in over a decade.

Over five months, CI supported expeditions by 126 researchers in 21 countries across five continents.

Among their findings:

  • In Ecuador, the rediscovery of the Rio Pescado stubfoot toad (Atelopus balios), one of the campaign's top 10 "lost" frogs, and a species not seen since 1995. Researchers feared that the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus had wiped out this species; this find is significant and very encouraging. Three other amphibian species from our initial list of 100 "lost" species were also discovered. Learn more » 

  • In India, the rediscovery of five missing amphibian species (so far) by scientists who, inspired by CI's global search, launched their own campaign to find local species. The rediscovered species include one that was last seen in 1874 and another which was found by pure chance in a rubbish bin. Learn more »

  • In Haiti, six surprising rediscoveries of species in the country's diminishing forest regions. These species — which include the ventriloquial frog (Eleutherodactylus dolomedes) and Mozart's frog (E. amadeus) — had not been seen in two decades. Learn more » 

  • In Colombia, the discovery of three amphibian species potentially brand new to science. Learn more » 

Though these discoveries bring hope for the survival of certain species, overall they are sparse findings that should sound an urgent wake-up call for countries and prompt coordinated efforts to prevent further declines in the populations of these environmentally sensitive barometer-species. Bold conservation efforts are not only critical for the future of many amphibians themselves, but also for the benefit of humans that rely on pest control, nutrient cycling and other services the animals provide.

View the complete list of Lost Frogs

Schneider's banana frog, Afrixalus schneideri- Cameroon
Amietophrynus danielae- Ivory Coast
Amietophrynus perreti- Nigeria
Sambas stream toad, Ansonia latidisca- Indonesia, Malaysia
Ansonia siamensis- Thailand
Venezuelan skunk frog, Aromobates nocturnus- Venezuela
Cave squeaker, Arthroleptis troglodytes- Zimbabwe
**FOUND** Rio Pescado stubfoot toad, Atelopus balios- Ecuador
Atelopus carauta- Colombia
Yellow frog of La Carbonera, Atelopus carbonerensis, Venezuela
Atelopus chiriquiensis- Panama, Costa Rica
Atelopus chocoensis- Colombia
Atelopus dimorphus- Peru
Forest stubfoot toad, Atelopus farci- Colombia
Atelopus galactogaster- Colombia
Morona-Santiago stubfoot toad, Atelopus halihelos- Ecuador
Jambato toad, Atelopus ignescens- Ecuador
Atelopus longibrachius- Colombia
Atelopus lozanoi - Colombia
Lynch's stubfoot toad, Atelopus lynchi- Ecuador, Colombia
Atelopus mandingues- Colombia
Mindo stubfoot toad, Atelopus mindoensis- Ecuador
Colombian stubfoot toad, Atelopus minutulus- Colombia
Onore's harlequin toad, Atelopus onorei- Ecuador
Red-nosed stubfoot toad, Atelopus oxyrhynchus- Venezuela
Peter's stubfoot toad, Atelopus petersi- Ecuador
Atelopus sernai
Atelopus sonsonensis- Colombia
Scarlet Frog, Atelopus sorianoi- Venezuela
Atelopus vogli- Venezuela
Atopophrynus syntomopus- Colombia
Guerreran climbing salamander, Bolitoglossa hermosa- Mexico
Jackson's climbing salamander, Bolitoglossa jacksoni- Guatemala
African painted frog, Callixalus pictus- Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda
Chrysobatrachus cupreonitens- Democratic Republic of Congo
Cochranella geijskesi- Suriname
Quito rocket frog, Colostethus jacobuspetersi- Ecuador
Angel robber frog, Craugastor angelicus- Costa Rica
Craugastor coffeus- Honduras
Fleischmann's robber frog, Craugastor fleischmanni- Costa Rica
Craugastor omoaensis- Honduras
Craugastor stadelmani- Honduras
Bahia spinythumb frog, Crossodactylus grandis- Brazil
Cryptothylax minutus- Democratic Republic of Congo
Alvarez del Toro's moss salamander, Cryptotriton alvarezdeltoroi- Mexico
Wake's moss salamander, Cryptotriton wakei- Guatemala
Sao bent button frog, Cycloramphus diringshofeni- Brazil
Gruta button frog, Cycloramphus valae- Brazil
Hula painted frog, Discoglossus nigriventer- Israel
Mottled Coqui, Eleutherodactylus eneidae- Puerto Rico
La Selle grass frog, Eleutherodactylus glanduliferoides- Haiti
Golden Coqui, Eleutherodactylus jasperi- Puerto Rico
Web-footed Coqui, Eleutherodactylus karlschmidti- Puerto Rico
Blanco blind salamander, Eurycea robusta- USA
Small mountain frog, Glandirana minima- China
Holoaden bradei- Brazil
Helena's treefrog, Hyla helenae- Guyana
Papahag frog, Hylarana melanomenta- Philippines
Mertens' tree toad, Hylodes mertensi- Brazil
Parjacti treefrog, Hyloscirtus chlorosteus- Bolivia
Charta treefrog, Hyloscirtus denticulentus- Colombia
Lynch's Colombian treefrog, Hyloscirtus lynchi- Colombia
Turkestanian salamander, Hynobius turkestanicus- Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
**FOUND** Mount Nimba reed frog, Hyperolius nimbae- Ivory Coast
Campo grande treefrog, Hypsiboas cymbalum- Brazil
Hypsiboas fuenti- Suriname
Singapore caecilian, Ichthyophis singaporensis- Singapore
Golden toad, Incilius periglenes- Costa Rica
Las Vegas leopard frog, Lithobates fisheri- USA
Guerran leopard frog, Lithobates omiltemanus- Mexico
Peppered treefrog, Litoria piperata- Australia
Cartago worm salamander, Oedipina altura- Costa Rica
El Empalme worm salamander, Oedipina paucidentata- Costa Rica
Paratelmatobius lutzii- Brazil
Dominican Caribbean (Hispaniolan Crestless) Toad, Peltophryne fluviatica- Dominican Republic
Du Toit's torrent frog, Petropedetes dutoiti- Kenya
Jacobson's bubble-nest frog, Philautus jacobsoni- Indonesia
Phrynobatrachus brongersmai- Liberia
Phrynomedusa fimbriata- Brazil
Hazel's treefrog, Plectrohyla hazelae- Mexico
Plectrohyla mykter- Mexico
Ainsworth's salamander, Plethodon ainsworthi- USA
Pristimantis bernali- Colombia
Argelia robber frog, Pristimantis bernali- Colombia
Pseudoeurycea ahuitzotl- Mexico
Brown false brook salamander, Pseudoeurycea brunata- Mexico
Admirable false brook salamander, Pseudoeurycea praecellens- Mexico
Pseudoeurycea tenchalli- Mexico
Collins' poison frog, Ranitomeya abdita- Ecuador
Gastric brooding frog, Rheobatrachus vitellinus, Rheobatrachus silus- Australia
Mesopotamia beaked toad, Rhinella rostrata- Colombia
Chile Darwin's frog, Rhinoderma rufum- Chile
Piebald alpine toad, Scutiger maculatus- China
Sharp-snouted day frog, Taudactylus acutirostris- Australia
Telmatobius brevipes- Peru
Kayla, Telmatobius niger- Ecuador
Atoyac minute salamander, Thorius infernalis- Mexico
Amatola toad, Vandijkophrynus amatolicus- South Africa
Werneria africana- Togo
**FOUND** Cave splayfoot salamander, Chiropterotriton mosaueri- Mexico

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Features & Media

Hope for Haiti
With the world's collective eyes on Haiti and international relief efforts underway, CI's Dr. Robin Moore set out to examine the status of some of the country's stressed ecosystems. In October, he embarked on an expedition to find amphibian species not seen in more than a decade in Haiti's fragmented forests. This search had surprising results — the rediscovery of several species not seen in almost 20 years. 
Read more »
Ask a Scientist - Amphibian Q&A with Dr. Robin Moore
How sharp are a caecilians teeth? Are there any special frogs in Iran? As the Search for the Lost Frogs carries on, we've asked amphibian scientist Dr. Robin Moore to answer your questions about frogs, caecilians, salamanders, newts, and the ongoing search.
See the answers »
Lost Frogs: Colombia
This six-day search in Colombia provides a small window on the experiences that challenge and inspire field researchers every day. While some amphibian species may be gone forever, Chocó's largely unexplored forests reveal the many conservation opportunities that still exist. Read more »
Searching for Lost Frogs
In 1975, scientists trekking through the wet forests of Guatemala's Cuchumatanes Mountains found two yellow-and-black salamanders under the bark of a fallen tree. Believing they had discovered a new species, the researchers brought one of the amphibians back to California, where it soon disappeared. Read more »
Robin Moore & Don Church Talk Frogs
Discover two scientists who devote their lives to frogs and the reasons why they were drawn to them. Watch the video »
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Fun Frog Facts see all
  • Frogs shed their skin, typically about once a week – and usually eat it afterwards
  • The water-holding frog survives in the dry Australian outback by taking in so much rainwater that it blows up like a balloon
  • Spadefoot toads smell like peanut butter
  • In Brazil, the world's only fruit eating frog leaps with its mouth wide open at ripe fruit hanging in trees
  • A group of frogs is called an 'army' of frogs, and a group of toads is a 'knot' of toads
  • Toads use their eyeballs to help them swallow their prey