Endangered amphibians such as the limosa harlequin frog (Atelopus limosus) now have a tiny bit of hope to cling to thanks to a captive breeding program run by a collaboration between conservation groups, including the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
For the first time, researchers with the captive breeding project have managed to raise nine limosa harlequin frogs from one mating pair, and they have hundreds of tadpoles on hand from a second breeding pair.
The diminutive amphibiansâ€”whose young are small enough to perch atop George Washington’s face on the U.S. quarterâ€”are of the chevron-patterned variety of limosa harlequin frog.
“These frogs represent the last hope for their species,” said biologist Brian Gratwicke, of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in a statement.
They are part of a project aimed at saving populations of several priority frog species in Panama, including the crowned treefrog (Anotheca spinosa) and the horned marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta).