Discover the amazing world of amphibians and why World Frog Day is more important than ever for our research and education team in Manú Rainforest.
World Frog Day closely follows two very exciting breakthroughs in our scientific work: the discovery of a species of frog new to science and the launch of the first ever field guide to amphibians of Manú.
But before we look at these, let’s explore why frogs and amphibians are so important within the Manú Biosphere Reserve, where we’re based, in the Peruvian Amazon.
The Manú Biosphere Reserve is the most biodiverse place on Earth for amphibians and they play a crucial role in helping us understand the area’s rich ecosystem.
Frogs are indicator species, meaning that they are highly sensitive to changes in their environment. They can tell us a lot about the health of an ecosystem and the impact of human disturbance. Due to their permeable skin, frogs can absorb toxic chemicals, radiation and diseases. This means the presence of such high numbers of frogs within Manú is a sign of a healthy and biodiverse environment.
Our nature reserve, the Manú Learning Centre (MLC), was farmland only 50 years ago. This is why it is so exciting to have discovered a new species of poison dart frog there. Senior Field Researcher, Jenni Serrano, was one of the team members that discovered Amereega Shihuemoy while surveying amphibians in streams of the MLC.
Interestingly, the Amereega Shihuemoy has only been found in areas of the forest that had been selectively logged (known as SLR). In fact, Jenni believes that conditions at the MLC are perfect for this species because it is regenerating.
The SLR forest provided a good home for the poison dart frogs due to factors like the level of canopy cover, humidity and the number of small pools of water for the tadpoles to grow.
Unlike other frog species, male poison dart frogs stay to look after their young, covering them with water and keeping them hydrated, while the mother lays additional eggs as food.
This behaviour is peculiar to poison dart frogs, and clearly the SLR areas within the MLC are ideal breeding grounds for this species.
Amereega Shihuemoy features in our new field guide to amphibians of Manú, the first of its kind, which will be an invaluable addition to the kit list of field researchers hoping to observe this species and the diversity of life in Manú.
You don’t need to be at the MLC for long before you experience the incredible rainforest wildlife for yourself. Whether you are looking to learn fieldwork techniques as part of our conservation internship programme, or would like to visit the MLC as a short or long-term volunteer, we have a wide selection of hands-on programmes available, ranging in length from 1 week to 6 months.