Happy: See-Through Frogs, Alien Salamanders, and Spiny Bugs...Oh My

Thursday, June 18, 2009

See-Through Frogs, Alien Salamanders, and Spiny Bugs...Oh My

A salamander that looks like E.T., a micosized frog smaller than a fingernail, and a spiny-crested grasshopper. Who says the age of exploration is dead?

It's definitely not for Conservation International (CI). Their scientists have come back with some startlingly vivid images of endangered and never-before-seen critters from a whirlwind trip to the Nangaritza Protected Forest in Ecuador, near the Peruvian border. CI researchers came across at least 15 species of creatures and plants "unknown to science."

One of the most remarkable creatures is the Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum, also called a glass or crystal frog because you can see through its transparent flesh (right down to its guts). This guy's not new, but he's definitely endangered, so the find is heartening for environmentalists.

The purpose of the three-week biodiversity study was to identify species and make conservation recommendations for ecotourism possibilities, which the Ecuadorian locals are entertaining. It also turns out that frogs and insects yield medicinal properties, and a proper population survey is needed to see what else is out there in the forest.

According to Bloomberg, out of 14 million plants and animals in the world, human beings have been acquainted with only about 1.8 million. Below are more images of new friends; you can find other photos and expedition details at CI's site.

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