The Sehuencas Water Frogs in Bolivia seem to be back from the dead.
Scientists feared that the Sehuencas Water Frogs or the Bolivian frog had gone extinct. Not a single Bolivian frog had been spotted except for one survivor, nicknamed “Romeo” in desperate need to find its “Juliet.” Fortunately, after a decade of searching for the nearly extinct species, scientists were able to find a tiny group of 5 long lost amphibians in the Bolivian mountain forest.
A renowned herpetologist, Robin Moore, was one of the scientists who announced the rediscovery of the species, was awestruck by the seemingly spontaneous spawning. Moore is the current communications director for the Global Wildlife Conservation in Texas.
Sehuencas water frogs (Telmatobius yuracare) live only in the Bolivian Mountain Cloud Forest, where the climate is cool. Unfortunately, this ideal climate is optimal for both the Bolivian frogs and chytridiomycosis (Kih-TRIH-dee-oh-my-KOH-sis), also known as chytrid (KIH-trid). Chytrid is a fungal infection known to cause frog populations to decrease, by infecting with a disease known as Chytridiomycosis. This disease practically suffocates the frogs.
Chytridiomycosis has killed off most of the Bolivian Frog’s population and was believed to kill them all except Romeo. The reasoning to why the long-lost frogs survived is unknown but there are a variety of hypothetical scenarios.
The select population had a beneficiary gene
The frogs were in a slightly different ecosystem which was resistant to chytrids
There was a lack of predation or high amounts of resources.
Another reason could have been plain old LUCK. There have been other scenarios where species were missing but rediscovered later. For Example, the Ecuadorian Marsupial horned frog and was rediscovered last year (2018).
The main idea to why the Bolivian Frog population reappeared is because the chytrids are dying off in the area. As a result, the Bolivian Frog population was able to gather enough strength to survive and rebound. Scientists are on high alert and have kept the recently found amphibians in captivity. The Bolivian Frog Captivation’s purpose is to identify the reasoning to why the select few survived. The Scientists plan on breeding the frogs to pass the possible beneficiary gene to the next generation for the future’s survival. Last but not least, Romeo finally found his Juliet.