Extinct Harlequin Frog Rediscovered

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 30th, 2008

The four new species of frogs discovered in the EcoMinga reserves.

Above: A (dead) harlequin frog. Photos by Juan Pablo Reyes

Herpetologists from the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales (Ecuadorian Museum of Natural Sciences) have been surveying Ecuador’s EcoMinga reserves and have discovered four apparently new species of frogs in and around the reserves.

They estimate that the total number of frog species in the Cerro Candelaria Reserve (EcoMinga’s largest reserve, bought with help from the World Land Trust) is around forty.

The herpetologists were especially thrilled to find a surviving population of a harlequin frog (Atelopus palmatus) that was thought to be extinct; this was found near EcoMinga’s Rio Zuñac reserve. Their investigations of EcoMinga’s reserves were funded by WLT trustee Nigel Simpson.

Atelopus zeteki, which is closely related to the rediscovered frog.

Just as a historical aside, WLT took the first camera trap photograph of a mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) at Tapichalaca, Ecuador, earlier in 2008.

The tapir, a wooly species with the feel of the Pleistocene about it, is the largest native mammal in South America and is endangered. It is also a classic animal of discovery within cryptozoology and continues to be so. The species name comes from the term La Pinchaque, a fantastic beast of folklore said to inhabit the same regions as the mountain tapir. The 1829 discovery of the tapir is, I would say metaphorically, another one of those “okapi” moments, but in the Americas during the 19th century.

Sources: World Land Trust; Lou Jost, Fundación EcoMinga; cryptozoology research.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

4 Responses to “Extinct Harlequin Frog Rediscovered”

  1. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Ecuador is such a wonderful country.

    Actually, I’m obligated to state that, since my brother-in-law is Ecuadorian, and he doesn’t tire to repeat it 😉

    His family has offered me to go visit them, and I would love to go and explore some of their forests and mountains; maybe even trying to go to Galapagos, although I’m being told acquiring visiting permits is really tough.

  2. jtm_kryptos responds:

    Gotta love the new species …

  3. zuri responds:

    Yes, Ecuador is a great and fantastic country. There is a wide variety of wildlife, great landscapes, and four different regions to enjoy (highlands, coast, rain forest and Galapagos). Those of you who visit Ecuador will not have to miss the opportunity to visit also the Galapagos Islands, which is a unique location in the world.


  4. cryptid responds:

    Well if yellow is caution and red is danger then the green and the black ones must be safe to lick

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