October 12, 2016
A previously thought to be extinct harlequin frog (Atelopus varius), known as the clown frog, has been rediscovered.
Dr. Jan Schipper, a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the School of Life Sciences and the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes has been studying a small population of this species in Costa Rica and is now working with ASU Foundation to support a rescue plan.
The Atelopus varius, is now listed under the Conservation Status of Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This status is the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN Red List for wild species; it indicates that this species is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
Recent variation in air temperature, precipitation, stream flow patterns, and the subsequent spread of a pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) linked to global climate change have been the leading cause of decline for A. varius (Lips et al. 2003 and Pounds et al. 2006).
Engaging people in the United States and Costa Rica, researchers are raising funds to implement a biosecurity protocol to prevent exposure of the frogs to other strains of chytrid.
We can all play a role in saving it! Watch this video to learn more.