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Lazarus, the amphibian

10:01am, May 31, 2006

Missing for more than a decade and feared to be extinct, a painted frog has resurfaced. At least one population of the subspecies Atelopus ebenoides marinkellei remains in a remote desert highland of Colombia, researchers discovered last month.

In an amphibian-biodiversity survey, team leader Carlos A. Rocha of the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia in Boyacá found the 3-to-9-centimeter-long frogs in the same locale where they were last spotted in 1995. Like many amphibians worldwide, the species has been devastated in recent decades by the fungal skin disease chytridiomycosis. "The finding must motivate us to adopt urgent measures toward saving the last of these amphibians," says Fabio Arjona, executive director of Conservation International in Colombia, which supported Rocha's research.

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