Extraordinary 200 new species of frogs identified in Madagascar06/05/2009 10:06:12
May 2009. A study undertaken by the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) has identified between 129 and 221 new species of frogs from Madagascar, which practically doubles the currently known amphibian fauna. This study suggests that the number of amphibian species in Madagascar, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, has been vastly underestimated.
Other species may have similar discoveries awaiting
The paper suggests that the total biodiversity of Madagascar could be much richer in other groups as well, so the destruction of natural habitats may be affecting many more species than previously thought. This is important for conservation planning, as the rate of destruction of rainforests in Madagascar has been one of the highest in the world, with more than 80% of the historic rainforest already lost.
Logging and political uncertainty
"Although a lot of reserves and national parks have been created in Madagascar during the last decade, the actual situation of politic instability is allowing the logging of forests within national parks, generating a lot of uncertainty about the future of the planned network of protected areas", explains Vieites. Almost a quarter of the new species discovered have not been found yet in protected areas.
High degree of endemism
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and one of the most biodiverse areas globally, with a high degree of endemic species. "To get an idea of its biodiversity, in the Iberian Peninsula are about 30 species of amphibians and in Germany about 20, in a single locality in Madagascar we can find some 100 species of frogs", explains Vieites.