Dozens of new frogs, snails, crabs found in Sri Lanka
Researchers say they have discovered 50 new species of snails and 35 new frogs in Sri Lanka's rainforests, but their announcement this week came with a warning about the potential loss of other species.
Rohan Pethiyagoda and his team spent nearly a decade combing the country's diminishing rainforests for signs of new species.
His report, published Thursday in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, also details 17 previously unknown species of crabs, seven new lizards and one new species of mouse deer.
Pethiyagoda said his discoveries raises the biodiversity profile of the island nation, challenging other species-rich tropical islands such as Madagascar and New Guinea.
The findings boosts the number of frog species on the island to 105, which means Sri Lanka is home to three per cent of the world's frogs.
But Pethiyagoda's findings were prefaced with bad news: His team also found 17 frog species have disappeared and 11 others face extinction.
"It's a desperate situation," Pethiyagoda told the Associated Press. "We need a concerted effort from the government together with international agencies."
The study says less than five per cent of the country's rainforest has survived agricultural expansion over the past two centuries.
British colonialists cleared the forests to make way for coffee, tea and rubber plantations.