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Taxing taxonomy

Darwin’s frog

Darwin’s frog, Rhinoderma darwinii (c) Claudio Soto (Kind courtesy of, especially for frogblogmanchester)

Identifying individual species, and even which genus or family they belong to, can sometimes be extremely taxing for even the most professional herpetologist. I bet when Darwin first discovered his famous mouth brooding frog in Chile he never dreamt it would eventually be split into two different species. Sometimes the slightest difference can indicate a separate species, and now that DNA research is helping us differentiate between species to a much higher degree it has opened up a whole new can of worms for those interested in following the ever changing amphibian taxonomy of today.

However, some individuals have dedicated much of their professional working life to helping us keep abreast of the latest status of our beloved creatures, and if it wasn’t for their dedicated efforts it would be very difficult for many of us to have any sort of handle on where everything is currently at. One such person who I have a great amount of admiration for is fellow Museum Curator of Herpetology, Darrel Frost at the AMNH.

Darrel created and manages Amphibian Species of the World, an online database listing all scientific and English names for more than 7,000 amphibian species. Whilst the database was designed for professional systematists, it gets more than a million visits a year from scientists, conservationists, and policymakers. Use of the database supports trade regulation of amphibian species and informs habitat conservation efforts around the world.

The amazing online database that catalogs every currently recognised amphibian species is available  HERE


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