Rare Salamander Species Found After 42 Years

Jackson's climbing salamander

A team of biologists has spent entire years trying to find another specimen of the extremely rare Jackson’s climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa jacksoni). Now, it seems they got lucky and managed to discover one, 42 years since it was last seen, back in 1975. The biologists found a living one in Guatemala which also brings good news in what concerns the region’s ecology.

A Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve guard actually found the small creature, also called the “golden wonder” for its colors, while he was patrolling towards the reserve’s edge. He quickly took a photo of the salamander and sent it to a curator of herpetology, Carlos Vasquez. He confirmed that it was indeed a climbing salamander and only the third specimen ever seen. Back in 1975, two students accidentally discovered the first two individuals. They were in the cloud forest of Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes in Guatemala, under some bark.

The incredibly rare Jackson’s climbing salamander

Since 2005, Vasquez has spent about 3,000 hours over 30 trips into that same forest trying to find another individual. He didn’t have any luck and decided to explain to the Finca San Isidro Amphibian Reserve what they needed to look out for. It seems like this was one of his best ideas, as one of the guards managed to spot a small salamander.

Vasquez explained that he told the guards precisely what and where to look for. He even left a picture of the salamander there, so they remember what it looked like. The salamander was actually part of the 25 Most Wanted list of the Search for Lost Species. Now, it’s the first specimen that was recovered.

Vasquez also said that they started to fear that the species of climbing salamander was actually gone. The fact that they managed to find another one might bring some hope to that part of the world.

Image source: wikimedia