The Zongo Valley is difficult to access for both scientists and loggers, according to Trond Larsen, director of the rapid assessment program for Conservation International, and coordinator of the Bolivian expedition. “It’s a reason why we find a lot of unique species,” Larsen says. “When you find a lot of steep valleys, it blocks the movement of animals, and so it has pockets of high endemism. The same features that lead this area to have natural protection also contribute to unique things that we find.”Among the trove of biological finds announced today: The lilliputian frog (Noblella sp. nov.), which measures approximately 10 millimeters in length, or about half the width of a dime, which makes it among the smallest amphibians in the world. It lives in tunnels beneath moss and was only found by patiently tracking its low-pitched call. The expedition team also found the mountain fer-de-lance (Bothrops monsignifer), a new species of venomous pit viper, which uses heat-sensing pits on its head to detect prey, and the Bolivian flag snake (Eutrachelophis sp. nov.), which is distinguished by red, yellow, and green colors similar to the Bolivian flag. It was discovered in the thick undergrowth along the crest of the mountain at the highest elevation surveyed.
Meet the Mountain Chickadee