Amphibians in Latin America
Amphibian Discovery and Conservation in Latin America
Around 40 new species of amphibians and reptiles have been discovered and named by Zoo Atlanta staff. (One of these, the leopard-bellied scrub toad, can be found in the Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience.) Zoo scientists have scoured remote regions of the world, finding species of amphibians previously unknown to science; we then get the privilege of formally giving these animals their official scientific names. Our research is based on field work and emphasizes inventories of remote, unsurveyed areas. In the process of doing our work, we frequently discover species unknown to science.
Our conservation work is based both in the field and on-grounds at the zoo. Our basic field work produces the raw data regarding biodiversity, distribution, abundance, and natural history that are critical to inform any conservation program.
Where: Latin America and Zoo Atlanta
Who: Zoo Atlanta also collaborates with specialists at Emory University and the Amphibian Ark to develop a better understanding of health issues commonly faced by amphibians, especially in matters related to nutrition and bone density.
Why: Amphibians worldwide are going extinct because of a newly discovered fungal disease called Chytridiomycosis. Our scientific staff tracks the history and spread of this disease in Latin America in order to better predict when and where it will arrive next.
This map shows the likely paths the disease has taken in Central and South America in the last 20 years.