Eight new species of frogs have been discovered in one place -- Sri Lanka's Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, but most of the frogs are on the verge of extinction, according to a new study.
While it's common for researchers to discover new species of amphibians -- more than 100 found each year -- finding eight new species in one place is quite uncommon.
Sri Lanka is flush with amphibians; the tiny island country off the south coast of India has hundreds of species of amphibians native to its jungles.
However the country also has more frog extinctions than anywhere else, and seven of the eight newly discovered species are thought to be "critically engendered," the environmental news site MongaBay reports.
Though amphibian specialists are always happy to discover new species, the findings did not come as a surprise.
"The survey in this area was initiated due to the lack of research work carried out in this area, and looking at its geography, and altitudinal changes which varies from about 600 meters-2200 meter, and the vegetation varying from lowland rain forests to cloud forests, we knew that the area's biodiversity was under represented," said L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe, lead author of the paper detailing the findings, as reported by MongaBay.
All eight of the new frogs are in the Pseudophilautus genus, which is only found in Sri Lanka and India. Each of the new species has unique physical characteristics, also uncommon in a time where genetic testing is often used to distinguish species that often look the same.
The Peak Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many surprises for researchers. In addition to the new discovery of the eight frogs, another species of frog previously thought to have gone extinct has been re-discovered in the sanctuary, the report stated.
Amphibians are one of the most endangered family groups in the world. Currently one third of the world's amphibians are threatened by habitat loss, pollution and disease. Scientists estimate that some 130 species of amphibians have gone extinct since in the past three decades, at least 20 of those extinct species were endemic to Sri Lanka.
Photos of the newly discovered frogs can be seen here.
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