back to article Scientists snap amazing technicolour dreamtoad

Determined Malaysian scientists have pulled off a bit of a blinder in the search for lost amphibians, by getting the first snaps of the elusive Borneo rainbow toad. Ansonia latidisca was last seen in 1924 by European explorers, and was until now recorded only in sketch form. Responding to an Conservation International call to …

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  1. jake Silver badge

    So let me get this right ...

    A full 20% of the top ten so-called "lost" amphibians aren't actually lost?

    Things that make you go "hmmmm ..."

    1. Lee Dowling

      Worse

      If you read up on evolutionary history, basically everything dies off quite regularly (as in 40-50% of species just disappear) and what doesn't die off evolves into different species to fill the gaps (it's believed that a lot of the "this species is critical to this environment's survival" assertions are a load of crap). The world copes and moves on without that ultra-rare toad which probably hasn't made any contribution to the local environment since it had a population of more than 100,000.

      Think about it - if it was endangered or rare, and nobody really noticed apart from the scientists looking for that exact species - how large exactly was the part it played in the local ecology?

      The biggest "problem" with species dying off is that they may have stuff we could use, e.g. if certain species of animals die off or kill off some associated plantlife (because it's not longer fertilising it), etc. then we may not find things that plant/animal life can do - e.g. produce human-painkillers, help us locate the DNA segment for property X, let us find missing links between species etc.

      Species are created, evolve and die every single day, globally. Unless you can prove that one has a dramatic effect on the local environment or something to really show science, there's little reason to go to special efforts to keep it (artificially, in captivity, in man-made environments, etc.). Do we moan the millions of subspecies of cow that haven't been chosen for breeding because they don't produce a lot of milk or make manky-tasting beef? Not really. But apparently a frog that nobody's seen in decades is "important". Personally, I think you'd have been better off just leaving it alone rather than acclimatising it to human contact which is likely to end up killing it (either because it gets too friendly and runs across a road, or because it catches something from us, or because it starts to feed from human waste and thus becomes a dependent pest).

      Every single time humans interfere with species distribution and movement (e.g. introducing cane toads to Australia) we make things worse even if we're supposed to have thought everything through. Now most of the pandas in the world are in zoos - an environment that they are notoriously inept at breeding in, for instance.

      Leave the fecking things alone and stop going looking for them. By the time you realise there's only a handful left, they aren't important to the local ecology any more and just become an administrative and financial burden for zero practical gain except for some PETA nuts to go "Aw, we saved him!" until the animals die in captivity.

      1. gef05

        Sorry mate, but

        You are clueless. That is the worst attempt at providing a snapshot of "biological science" I've seen on many many stupid message boards, including this one. Hopeless.

      2. Disco-Legend-Zeke
        Pint

        But It Is...

        ...that very fragility that makes amphibians the "mine canary" of ecosystems.

        We have no way of knowing what traits,chemicals, abilities. etc. are coded in the DNA of any living thing, nor how important these codes will be to us in the future.

        From a personal standpoint, I very much enjoyed a photograph of the most amazing camouflage that i have seen; this animal WANTS to be lost.

        1. Steve Crook

          Leave them alone...

          As I recall, a few years ago everyone was worried about the inexplicable loos of amphibian, and were blaming pollution, climate change and habitat loss. Then they discovered the fungus. By which time I'm sure eager researchers have managed to spread it into many areas it would never have got to.

          Lets hope the people that have been looking for this toad didn't take the amphibian killing fungus with them on their boots. It's probably the fact that it's been 'lost' that's been keeping it alive in the first place.

          Sometimes less is more.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        "Do we moan..."

        "...the millions of subspecies of cow that haven't been chosen for breeding because they don't produce a lot of milk or make manky-tasting beef? Not really."

        Yes we do. All in good(?) time. You just wait and see.

        Ditto for other old domestic varieties (pigs, cereals, fruit...)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Lee Dowling

        The world copes and moves on without that ultra-rare "Lee Dowling" which probably hasn't made any contribution to the local environment. Dowlings are created, evolve and die every single day, globally. Unless you can prove that one has a dramatic effect on the local environment or something to really show science, there's little reason to go to special efforts to keep one (artificially, in captivity, in man-made environments, etc.). Leave the fecking things alone and stop going looking for them. By the time you realise there's only a handful left, they aren't important to the local ecology any more and just become an administrative and financial burden for zero practical gain.

  2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
    Happy

    far out, man

    Groovy colors...

  3. Sceptic Tank
    Alien

    Mr.

    Let them loose in Australia. Within 20 years they will have become a plague.

    (Icon = alien species)

  4. rcdicky
    Trollface

    Mmmmmmmmmmmm

    bet it tastes like rainbow chicken

  5. Full Mental Jacket
    Coat

    technicolour

    No mention of whether they licked it or not...

  6. James Micallef Silver badge
    Happy

    Tripping!!

    Holy mother of all that's psychedelic!

    Did they lick that toad before taking that pic?

  7. sandman

    Hallucinatory

    I believe some people lick toads to get a buzz. That thing looks like it would give you a three day trip!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Angel

    ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD!

    See title

    1. Miek

      WTF?

      Hypnotoad? what the f... ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    Perhaps they are cleverer then we think...

    Perhaps all these "previously thought extinct" species foresaw well in advance the oncoming cataclysm of industrial age man and just decided to hide for a few hundred years until it all passes by...

  10. Elmer Phud

    Aceeeeeeed

    Cor, now I can stop licking toads to see all the colours!

  11. Asgard
    Alien

    Toad licking

    Considering all the toad licking comments, I'm beginning to see another reason why Amphibians are in danger.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      It's a curious quantity of lickers indeed.

      Halitosis would be the danger?

  12. Bassey

    Why

    What's the point? What have we gained by "discovering" this "lost" species? Presumably the toad knew where it was and that's what's important. Unless it is really tasty and nutritional leave the damn thing alone and concentrate on some of the real problems.

    1. Miek

      Becuase

      We now have a nice colour photo of the beast and know that it is still alive and hopping.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Wasn't there a...

    South Park episode about the creature? :-o

    1. Winston Smith
      Pirate

      That was the Mexican Staring Frog...

      of Southern Sri Lanka.

      *Very* dangerous. I heard that someone posted a picture of it on Facebook, and anyone who checks the status of that account passes out for three hours. True story.

  14. anarchic-teapot
    Thumb Up

    Ignore all the boorish "so whatters"

    That is a truly magnificent animal. I'm glad it's not extinct.

    (and as an Arts graduate may I add that I'm truly appalled by the level of scientific ignorance displated by some of the commentards here?)

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Coat

    Weren't these used to produce dried frog pills?

    You know, the ones that in the right dose make mad people hallucinate they are sane?

  16. Mage Silver badge

    Doomed I tell ye.

    Pandas.

    Even if there are no humans it is likely Doomed.

  17. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Lost?

    Or well camouflaged in an environment where there aren't many biologists catalogueing things?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Seek and ye shall find..

    If your out there lookign for ants or hummingbirds its just another frog.. now if you are looking for a toad, you might find it.. now did you see the beetle it just ate? that was rare!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Ummm...

      Its an even rarer beetle now.... there is one less of them!

  19. J 3
    Alert

    Scientists snap?

    What? What rag am I reading? At El Reg they'd have gone with "boffins snap" for that headline!

  20. OrsonX
    Angel

    Proof of God's Existance

    This toad could not possibly have evolved by natural selection.

  21. DavidK
    Alien

    Drugs are bad

    Mmkay?

  22. Donald Becker

    What are you talking about?

    What's this "hynotoad" thing you talking abo.... ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Bah

      Old and boring meme is ol-ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    iwoot

    Quite possibly the most awesome creature I've seen (excluding those that wear bikinis).

    I'd have one as a pet, but we have laws against that sort of thing.

  24. Charles Manning

    My camera did this too

    After a bad fall, the CCD must have been damaged and the colours all came out weird.

    Maybe the scientist can send the camera back under warrantee and just pretend he has been treating it properly.

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