Two new frog species in Panama




Two new frog species were discovered just northeast of Panama City. Unfortunately they may be among the next victims of the fatal fungal disease decimating highland frogs worldwide, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.


Anomaloglossus isthminus, first collected in 1974 near the El Llano-Cartí Road, was mistakenly called Colostethus chocoensis. STRI’s Roberto Ibáñez and César Jaramillo found the same species in streams at two more locations during a 1997 survey of the Panama Canal watershed. This species made the short list of endangered frogs to be saved by the Smithsonian’s Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.


Taxonomist Charles Myers at the American Museum of Natural History realized that this was a new species by examining the specimens’ tongues. Among the few specimens examined, he identified a second closely related species, collected in the indigeous comarca of Kuna Yala in 1985 by Jorge Roldán. Myers named this one Anomaloglossus astralogaster for the starry pattern on its belly.


Captive breeders need tens of individuals to save a species from extinction. So far, too few of these frogs have been found to successfully breed them in captivity.

Source: STRI (Smithsonians Tropical Research Institute)

Panama leads Latin America in ecosystem services science



In 1997, the term ‘ecosystem services’ first appeared in a scientific paper concerning research in Latin America. Since then, the number of publications that discuss how modern economies rely on the services of nature – such as carbon sequestration and fresh water – has climbed dramatically. In a review of ecosystem services (ES) science in ten Latin American countries published online in Ecosystem Services, Panama trails only Mexico by total number of publications. With over 200 ES articles each and more than double any of the remaining countries, it is clear that Panama is a leader in this research field.“This is a story about STRI (Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute) and its century of work in Panama,” says STRI’s Jefferson Hall, one of the paper’s coauthors, explaining STRI researchers’ tradition of investigating a wide breadth of natural ecosystems..  Hall directs STRI’s Panama Canal Watershed Project, or Agua Salud, a large-scale land-use study that explores ecosystem services in the tropics.“Scientists and policy makers have recognized that ecosystems provide a suite of services needed by people,” says Hall. “At Agua Salud we’re trying to understand the mechanics of service production across land uses as well as tie in the social and economic aspects of these interactions.


Source: STRI