In a paper published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, a team of experts, including researchers from the University of Canterbury, says the number of species has been strongly underestimated and they are calling for action.
The researchers from France and New Zealand collected and collated more than 500 DNA sequences, including 60 previously recognised species, occurring in the Guiana Shield, which harbours the largest continuous tract of virgin tropical rainforest.
This region of Amazonia comprises French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, eastern Venezuela and northern Brazil.
PhD researcher Antoine Fouquet says the samples revealed an astonishing level of cryptic diversity, with the number of species identified potentially two-fold greater than previously thought.
Antoine says such underestimation of amphibian diversity has broad implications for the management of biodiversity, and particularly that of many Neotropical amphibians which are considered highly threatened.
He says frogs are the "canaries in the coal mine" and their current decline is regarded as an indicator of the environmental crisis.
"Given the unique evolutionary history of the Guiana Shield region, and its nearly pristine condition, it is critical that there is greater understanding of its frog species."
Andrew Hyde | alfa
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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