Monday, February 4, 2008

24 new species discovered in South America-purple frog

An atelopus frog found in the remote mountains of Suriname

Scientists have discovered 24 new species of wildlife in the South American highlands of Suriname, including a frog with fluorescent purple markings.

But conservationists have now warned that these creatures are threatened by illegal gold mining.

The discovery of so many species outside the insect realm is extraordinary and points up the need to survey distant regions, said Leeanne Alonso of Conservation International, which led the expedition that found the new species.

"When you go to these places that are so unexplored and so remote, we do tend to find new species...but most of them are insects," Alonso said.

"What's really exciting here is we found a lot of new species of frogs and fish as well."

The two-tone frog - whose skin is covered with irregular fluorescent lavender loops on a background of aubergine - was discovered in 2006 as part of a survey of Suriname's Nassau plateau, the conservation group said.