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Rediscovered Species

Italy Ngala Offline
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This thread is for the species of animals rediscovered, known as "Lazarus Taxa" for obvious reasons. Insert here the news and the articles with the descriptions of the species rediscovered.

Fortunately, not all the species that aren't seen for a long time have become extinct, but they survive in the most remote corners of our planet.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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( This post was last modified: 07-10-2017, 03:47 PM by Ngala )

Corallus cropanii - Rediscovered after 64 years (2017). Described and last seen alive in 1953.

World's Rarest Boa Rediscovered After 64 Years
The Cropan's boa, native to Brazil's Atlantic Forest, hadn't been seen alive since its discovery in 1953.
By Carrie Arnold
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 10, 2017

A female Cropan's boa winds around a tree in Brazil's Atlantic Forest on January 21, 2017. PHOTOGRAPH BY JONNE RORIZ

*This image is copyright of its original author

The rarest boa on Earth has been discovered in the rapidly shrinking Atlantic Forest outside São Paulo.

Farmers discovered the 5.5-foot-long female in Ribeira Valley on January 21—the first live specimen of this species collected since 1953, according to photographer Jonne Roriz.

A public campaign to recruit locals to help find the reptile—a mystery to science for decades—had paid off. (Read about a new species of snake discovered in Australia.)

Robert Henderson, curator emeritus of herpetology at the Milwaukee Public Museum, says "this is an amazing find. Just phenomenal."

"RATHER BITEY"
When farmers in the area known as Ribeira, see a snake, they generally kill it, as it may be deadly.

This strategy meant scientists at the University of São Paulo Museum of Zoology and the Institute Butantan only had dead specimens to study—about five over the past 64 years. (Take our poll: "Which of These Snakes Is the Fiercest of Them All?")

The snakes' bodies told researchers basic information about what the snake looked like (a light brown body with splotches of dark brown or black on its back) and its size, but little beyond that. Closely related species live in trees and can be “rather bitey,” according to Henderson.

“The snakes have to drag their prey from the ground up into the tree where they eat it, so they need to be able to hold on and not drop their food,” he says.

Scientific expeditions to the Ribeira Valley, where several Cropan's boas had been found decades ago, yielded nothing. (See National Geographic's pictures of snakes.)

The newfound female snake, about 5.5 feet long, is a dexterous tree climber. PHOTOGRAPH BY JONNE RORIZ

*This image is copyright of its original author

"THIS SNAKE WAS THEIRS"
So the herpetologists began spreading the word.

Beginning in October 2016, Bruno Rocha, Daniela Gennari, and Livia Correia gave talks about the snake to communities and provided brochures with its photograph so locals could easily recognize it (preferably before dispatching it with a machete strike).

The team taught the locals how to scoop a snake into a bucket and provided them with an email, phone number, and WhatsApp contact information for the scientists.

Once the scientists inspected the live boa, they implanted her with a small radio tracker and released her back into the Ribeira Valley, where she may provide insight into the species' longevity and mating habits.

Other articles related:
World's Rarest Boa Snake Seen for 1st Time in 64 Years
Extremely rare snake emerges in Brazil after 64-year absence
Watch the world’s most elusive boa snake out of a Brazilian forest

Other photo:
Cropan's boa (Corallus cropanii) inhabits a forest range in Brazil, and scientists recently glimpsed the first living specimen seen since 1953.
Credit: Lívia Corrêa/Instituto Butantan

*This image is copyright of its original author
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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( This post was last modified: 07-10-2017, 03:37 PM by Ngala )

Arthroleptis troglodytes - Rediscovered after 55 years (2017). Found in 1962, and described in 1963.

After 54 years in hiding, 'extinct' frog rediscovered in Zimbabwe
BY EARTH TOUCH JANUARY 26 2017

In 1962, researchers exploring the sinkholes, caves and montane grasslands of eastern Zimbabwe's Chimanimani Mountains stumbled across a dark brown frog no bigger than a dollar coin. The tiny amphibian turned out to be new to science, and it was dubbed the cave (or sinkhole) squeaker in a nod to its unique, high-pitched call. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, it vanished.

Half a century passed without another recorded sighting of the elusive frog, and many feared the species had squeaked its final squeak. That is, until December last year, when an expedition organised by Robert Hopkins – a research associate at the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo – uncovered a population of sinkhole squeakers (Arthroleptis troglodytes) eking out an existence in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands.

Image © Francois Becker

*This image is copyright of its original author

The team's findings have sparked hope for the rare species. "A great deal of data was gathered," says Hopkins, who has been searching for the squeaker for eight years. "And most interesting of all is that I am able to state that this species is alive and well on the summit of Chimanimani, and is breeding well – there seems to be a very viable population."

Also part of the search were fellow scientist Francois Becker from the University of Cape Town and Zimbabwean entomologist Scott Herbst. It was Becker who managed to track down the sought-after squeaker by following its unusual call. "Francois had done a great deal of work on [similar species] in South Africa, and had paid particular attention to their calls," Hopkins says of the discovery. "He heard a call which he recognised as that of an Arthroleptis, but did not or could not identify it, so he tracked that call and ultimately found the first specimen."

The research trip was certainly not the first attempt by scientists to track down this herpetological trophy – other research surveys have been trying and failing over the last 50 years. It's possible, however, that they were all looking in the wrong place. According to Hopkins, most researchers have been searching for the species near water, which is where they were first found 55 years ago. "Our (latest) finds place the breeding sites away from water, and certainly not at any time in caves or sinkholes," he points out.

If Arthroleptis troglodytes is anything like other species in its genus, then it isn't necessarily dependent on water bodies during the early stages of life. These frogs are believed to undergo direct development, which means that unlike most other amphibian species they skip the tadpole stage and hatch from their eggs as fully formed, miniature adults.

Image © Francios Becker

*This image is copyright of its original author

Although the squeaker frogs prefer a fairly isolated, lofty lifestyle within Chimanimani National Park, the species may still be at risk from development. On the Zimbabwean side of the reserve, small-scale mining is known to have caused significant damage to a key river system, and there have been rumours in the past of government plans to de-proclaim part of the national park for a commercial gold mine. "The biggest threat is their restricted habitat," Hopkins warns. "They are found only on the western side of the Chimanimani Mountain, in an area some four to five acres [in size]." Illegal mining activity around this tiny habitat poses a threat not only to the cave squeakers, but to all wildlife in the area, he adds.

Three specimens of the newly rediscovered species now have a home at Hopkins's laboratory in Bulawayo, where he hopes to breed them. "They are doing well and I am of the opinion that the female has nested, and that she has laid eggs," he tells us. 

So is there hope for the species? Hopkins is optimistic. After meeting with the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority, he is confident that measures are being put in place to protect the tiny frogs. The Mohamed bin Zayed Conservation Fund, the organisation that funded the expedition, has also volunteered to continue assisting in future conservation initiatives.

Hang in there, cave squeakers, help is on the way.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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Varanus douarrha - Rediscovered after 194 years (2017). Found in 1823, and described in 1830.

Scientists rediscover ‘lost’ monitor lizard in Papua New Guinea
5 May 2017 / Shreya Dasgupta

The species Varanus douarrha was first discovered on the island of New Ireland in 1823 by French naturalist René Lesson, but the only specimen he collected was likely lost in a shipwreck.
  • The only specimen of the monitor lizard Lesson collected on New Ireland never reached its destination in France and was not studied in detail.
  • Since then, it has been believed that the monitor lizards on New Ireland are the common mangrove monitors (Varanus indicus).
  • But the new study confirms that the monitor lizards on New Ireland are a distinct species.
On an island in Papua New Guinea, scientists say they have rediscovered a species of monitor lizard thought to be “lost” to science since the 1800s.

The medium-sized lizard was first discovered on the island of New Ireland in 1823 by French naturalist René Lesson, who named the species Varanus douarrha. According to Lesson, douarrha was the local word for the monitor lizard in Port Praslin, located at the southern end of New Ireland.

The only specimen he collected, however, never reached its destination in France and was not studied in detail. It was likely lost in a shipwreck off the Cape of Good Hope.

“Since then, it has been believed that the monitor lizards on New Ireland belong to the common mangrove monitor (Varanus indicus) that occurs widely in northern Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands,” lead author Valter Weijola, a researcher at the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku, Finland, said in a statement.

Island of New Ireland, where the rediscovered species of monitor lizard is found. Photo by Valter Weijola.

*This image is copyright of its original author

However, when Weijola collected and examined monitor lizards on New Ireland during field surveys in 2012, he found that the lizards are distinct from the common mangrove monitor and are a separate species. His team’s findings were published in the Australian Journal of Zoology.

“New morphological and genetic studies confirmed that the monitor lizards of New Ireland have lived in isolation for a long time and developed into a separate species,” Weijola said.

The newly described Varanus douarrha is black with yellow spots, and can grow to about 1.3 meters (~4.3 feet) in length. It is the only large native predator currently known to live on New Ireland, the authors write in the paper.

Hunting of monitor lizards is common on New Ireland. But current levels of hunting are not likely to pose a threat to the long-term survival of the species, the researchers add.

Varanus douarrha is the largest known animal on the island of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Valter Weijola.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Last year, Weijola and his team discovered a new species of monitor lizard on Mussau, another island in Papua New Guinea. The turquoise-tailed lizard, Varanus semotus, is thought to be the only known large-sized predator and scavenger on the island.

“Together, these two species have doubled the number of monitor lizard species known to occur in the Bismarck Archipelago [of which New Ireland is a part] and proved that there are more endemic vertebrates on these islands than previously believed,” said Weijola.

Varanus douarrha was first discovered in 1823, and the only collected specimen is thought to have been lost in a shipwreck. Photo by Valter Weijola.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Citation:
Valter Weijola, Fred Kraus, Varpu Vahtera, Christer Lindqvist, Stephen C. Donnellan. Reinstatement of Varanus douarrha Lesson, 1830 as a valid species with comments on the zoogeography of monitor lizards (Squamata:Varanidae) in the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. Australian Journal of Zoology, 2017; DOI: 10.1071/ZO16038
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Atelopus longirostris - Rediscovered after 27 years (2016). Described in 1868, last seen in 1989.

Rediscovery of the nearly extinct longnose harlequin frog Atelopus longirostris (Bufonidae) in Junín, Imbabura, Ecuador Tapia et al., 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author

Figure 2. Atelopus longirostris habitat at Junín, Provincia Imbabura: ((E) female CJ (sc 5521) on a leaf of Rubiaceae, (F) male CJ (sc 5582) on a leaf of Piperaceae. Photo credits: Gustavo Pazmiño-Otamendi

Abstract:
"We report the recent finding of four adults of Atelopus longirostris, a Critically Endangered species that was last seen in 1989, when catastrophic Atelopus declines occurred. The rediscovery of A. longirostris took place in a new locality, Junín, 1250–1480 m asl, Provincia Imbabura, Ecuador, on 28–31 March 2016. The four frogs were found in two isolated small patches of native forest in a fragmented area heavily modified for agriculture and livestock; one patch protected by the Junín Community Reserve, and another non-protected private patch near the reserve. We found high prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in the amphibian community of Junín, but A. longirostris tested negative. The finding of A. longirostris after 27 years is surprising and fits an apparent pattern of mild conditions that might be promoting either the recovery or persistence in low numbers of some relict amphibian populations. The frogs are the first founders of an ex situ assurance colony in Jambatu Research and Conservation Center. Expansion of the Junín Community Reserve is urgently needed to add the currently non-protected patch of forest, where A. longirostris also occurs. The restoration of the forest in degraded areas between both forest patches and in the related river margins is also necessary. This restoration will grant the connectivity between both isolated metapopulations and the normal movement of individuals to the breeding sites in the Chalguayacu and Junín River basins. The latter should be protected to prevent any kind of water pollution by the opencast copper exploitation of the mining concession Llurimagua, which is underway. Atelopus longirostris belongs to a group of at least 29 species of Ecuadorian Atelopus that are critically endangered, 15 of which remain unsighted for at least one decade, and most of them might be extinct. Further synchronous, multidisciplinary and integrative research is needed, aiming to understand the most aspects of the biology of species of Atelopus to support in situ and ex situ conservation actions."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Latonia nigriventer - Rediscovered after 56 years (2011). Described in 1943, last seen in 1955.

Living quarters of a living fossil—Uncovering the current distribution pattern of the rediscovered Hula painted frog (Latonia nigriventer) using environmental DNA Renan et al., 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author

Photo credits: Uri Roll

Abstract:
"One of the greatest challenges of effective conservation measures is the correct identification of sites where rare and elusive organisms reside. The recently rediscovered Hula painted frog (Latonia nigriventer) has not been seen for many decades and was therefore categorized extinct. Since its rediscovery in 2011, individuals from the critically endangered species have been found, with great effort, only in four restricted sites. We applied the environmental DNA (eDNA) approach to search for new populations of the Hula painted frog in suitable aquatic habitats. We further used the eDNA data to classify the landscape factors associated with the species distribution and to predict its suitable habitats. We sampled 52 aquatic sites in the Hula Valley during the spring of 2015 and 2016 and amplified the samples with a species-specific qPCR assay. DNA of the Hula painted frog was detected in 22 of the sites, all of which clustered within three main areas. A boosting classification model showed that soil type, vegetation cover and the current and former habitats are all key predictors of the frog's current distribution. Intriguingly, the habitat suitability models reveal a high affinity of the species to its long-lost habitat of the historical wetlands. Our findings encourage a series of informed searches for new populations of this threatened frog and provide guidance for future conservation management programmes. In the era of global conservation crisis of amphibians, developing the eDNA approach, a reliable detection method for many critically endangered and elusive amphibians, is of particular importance."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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