LA PAZ, (Reuters) – A high-profile scientific expedition in the Bolivian Andes revealed 20 species new to science, including a “lilliputian frog” along with four re-discovered species including the “devil-eyed frog” previously thought to be extinct, says Conservation International.
The expedition was led by the environmental group and the capital’s government La Paz. It included 17 scientists who went to the Chawi Grande, an area that belongs to the indigenous Huaylipaya community near La Paz.
“The astounding rediscovery of once thought extinct species, especially so close to the city of La Paz, demonstrates how sustainable development that embraces nature conservation can secure long-term biodiversity protection,” International Conservation said in a statement.
The lilliputian frog measures only about 10 millimeters in length, making it one of the smallest amphibians in the world.
“Due to their small size and habit of living in tunnels under the thick layers of moss in the cloud forest, they were difficult to find even by tracking their frequent calls,” said the environmental group.
Four new butterfly species have also been discovered, including two species of “metal mark butterflies”, which feed on flower nectar in open areas and clear forests.
The “devil’s-eye frog, previously known only by one individual observed more than 20 years ago, was found to be relatively abundant in the cloud forest,” the group said.
Previous expeditions trying to find this black frog with red eyes ended up empty handed.
Also rediscovered was the “Alzatea verticillata,” a small flowering tree formerly known only from a single record in Bolivia and discovered on this expedition after 127 years.
“There have been numerous trips to Bolivia to find this mysterious tree over the years. All failed until now, ”said Conservation International.