Brit scientists seek rare frogs in Costa Rica

September 12, 2008

What makes a herpetologist hoot for joy in the humid night high in the cloud forest of Monteverde?

The discovery of a female Isthmohyla rivularis, one of the rarest tree frogs in the world.

“This is probably the first female that has been found in 20 years,” beamed Andrew Gray, a British scientist who this week wrapped up a visit to Costa Rica.

Poking around in the damp brush, playing a recorded frog call on a CD player, the scientists this week also managed to find a male Duellmanohyla uranochroa, or red-eyed stream frog.

“This is one of the most critically endangered frogs in the world,” Gray said to a BBC photographer as the tiny amphibian perched on his hand.

Gray and his team, hailing from the University of Manchester and the Chester Zoological Society, have been in mountains northwest of San José at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve looking into whether increased cloud cover caused by climate change is threatening the tree frogs.

The scientists believe the tiny amphibians are able to kill off a deadly fungus by lounging under the sun. Other species of frogs avoid the sun.

“In places like Monteverde, the temperature has changed drastically over the last couple of years. Lowlands are getting warmer and so the clouds are thicker in the highlands,” Gray told The Tico Times last week in a phone interview before heading to Monteverde.

“(With increased cloud cover), the frogs can´t bask. They´re cold blooded and need to heat up, and also use sunlight to clear themselves of things like these funguses that live at damp, low temperatures,” Gray said

See the latest Tico Times print or pdf edition for more on this story.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Ballet Festival 2019 part of Costa Rica’s flourishing dance scene
Arts & Culture
19 views
Arts & Culture
19 views

Ballet Festival 2019 part of Costa Rica’s flourishing dance scene

Jacob Spetzler - May 24, 2019

A convergence of international ballet classes, performances and meetings manifests this week in the form of the Costa Rican Festival…

Tico wins gold medal at Para Athletics Grand Prix
Costa Rica
10 views
Costa Rica
10 views

Tico wins gold medal at Para Athletics Grand Prix

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 24, 2019

When Sherman Güity lost part of his left leg after a traffic accident in 2017, he pledged to return to…

USNS Comfort mission to stop in Costa Rica this year
Costa Rica
22 views
Costa Rica
22 views

USNS Comfort mission to stop in Costa Rica this year

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 24, 2019

Costa Rica will receive the USNS Comfort, a United States Navy hospital ship, as part of the vessel's five-month medical…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!