Borneo’s rainbow toad, last seen by explorers in 1924, photographed by scientists for 1st time
2011-07-15 0:00


A colourful, spindly-legged toad that was believed to be extinct has been rediscovered in the forests of Borneo.

Scientists from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) found three of the missing long-legged Borneo rainbow toads up a tree during a night time search.

The team had spent months scouring remote mountain forests for the species.

Prior to these images, only illustrations of the toad had existed.

These were drawn from specimens that were collected by European explorers in the 1920s.

Conservation International, which launched its Global Search for Lost Amphibians in 2010, had listed the toad as one of the "world’s top 10 most wanted frogs".

Sketch of the Ansonia latidisca, previously the only image depicting what the mysterious toad looked like

Dr Indraneil Das led a team that searched the ridges of the Gunung Penrissen range of Western Sarawak, a boundary between Malaysia’s Sarawak State and Indonesia’s Kalimantan Barat Province.

After several months of night-long expeditions, one of Dr Das’s graduate students eventually spotted a small toad in the high branches of a tree.

Lost hope

"Thrilling discoveries like this beautiful toad, and the critical importance of amphibians to healthy ecosystems, are what fuel us to keep searching for lost species," said Dr Das.

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