The Hula frog has no living relations, Braunschweig Technical University said last week. Experts from the university along with Israeli and French scientists were on the international team which found the frog in Israel.
They reported the find in the scientific journal Nature Communications. The frogs were first discovered in the 1940s living quietly in the Hula Valley in northern Israel.
The last time a Hula frog (Latonia nigriventer) was seen was back in 1955 – and in 1996 a nature protection commission reported that their habitat had been largely destroyed by agricultural developments.
Massive efforts have been made since 1996 to restore and revitalize the area – near the border between Israel, Syria and Lebanon – and it seems this has borne froggy fruit.
“This rediscovery has excited biologists around the world because it shows that nature protection can pay off in even the seemingly most hopeless cases,” said Professor Miguel Vences, amphibian specialist at Braunschweig Technical University.
Professor Sarig Gafny from the University of Ruppin in Israel added: “It is unbelieable that this species of amphibian survived undiscovered in this intensively examined region for the last 60 years. Perhaps this Israeli frog could become a trendsetter – maybe other amphibians which we thought were extinct have survived in other corners of the world.”