Researchers working in a little-studied rainforest have uncovered a minute Poison Frog that seems restricted to a tiny range within a very unique habitat. Labeled a “micro-endemic”, the newly-described frog may be threatened by plans to encourage ecotourism in the area. Its species name, “assimibilis”, means “that may disappear”. The region in which it lives, northern South America’s Guyana Shield, is home to 148 amphibian and 176 reptile species…and herpetologists believe that many more await discovery
A Biodiversity Hotspot
The term “lost world” was first applied to the Guyana Shield (please see photo) in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic 1912 book of the same name, and biologists find it equally appropriate today. Home to 25% of the world’s undisturbed tropical rainforests, the area supports a mind-boggling array of unique animals and plants.
Included among herps described so far are 11 caecilians, 4 crocodilians, 4 amphisbaenians (worm lizards, please see photo), 97 snakes and 56 lizards. Many of the 137 resident frogs are endemic (found nowhere else), as are approximately 15% of the reptiles. Some are known from only 1-5 specimens, and it is assumed that many have yet to be seen by herpetologists. Read More »