Australian researchers rediscover frog thought to be extinct
A tiny frog, that was thought to be extinct, has turned up again in Australia, in a remote area in the north.
It is only 3.75 centimetres long and is called the Armoured Mistfrog, and hasn't been seen since 1991. Experts thought it had been wiped out by a fungus.
But two months ago, a doctoral student at James Cook University in Townsville conducting research on another frog species in Queensland stumbled across what appeared to be several Armoured Mistfrogs in a creek, said professor Ross Alford, head of a research team on threatened frogs at the university.
Conrad Hoskin, a researcher at The Australian National University in Canberra who has been studying the evolutionary biology of north Queensland frogs for the past 10 years, conducted DNA tests on tissue samples from the frogs and determined they were the elusive Armoured Mistfrog.
Alford's group got the results on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency also confirmed Hoskin's findings.
"A lot of us were starting to believe it had gone extinct, so to discover it now is amazing," Hoskin said. "It means some of the other species that are missing could potentially just be hidden away along some of the streams up there."
Craig Franklin, a zoology professor at The University of Queensland who studies frogs, said the Mistfrog's rediscovery was exciting.
"It's very significant," Franklin said. "We've lost so many frog species in Australia ... Hopefully it's a population that's making a comeback."
About 30 to 40 have been found so far.
They were on the critically endangered list but after they hadn't been seen for so long, scientists just thought they had become extinct.
The ones that have been found are now going to be studied to see how they could coexist with the deadly fungus that they are infected with, but are currently not sick with.