Monday, March 11, 2013

Found frog

"Above bright green, with transverse darker bands, and irregularly spotted white. Limbs barred brown and spotted white. Beneath pinkish white. Body oval. Total length about 2 1/4 inches...This frog, too, changes its green colour into a purplish brown, the transverse bands become brown, but the white spots are always present." That is how Ceylonese naturalist Lieutenant Colonel Edward Frederick Kelaart (1819–1860) described the large shrub frog that he discovered in 1853. He called it the "starry frog," but gave it an official name of Pseudophilautus stellatus. Recently, biologists led by L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe conducted a survey in a sanctuary in the country now known as Sri Lanka. They found 78 specimens of an interesting amphibian. Even though the original holotype had gone missing in the intervening 160 years, they knew from Kelaart's description of the frog that they had found not a new species, but one that had been thought extinct. "To know that this species is not gone forever and that we do have a second chance of preserving it is indeed beyond belief!" says Wickramasinghe.

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