With an almost 20-thousand-square kilometer area, the Madidi National Park located in the upper Amazon basin in Bolivia was established in 1995 and is known to be one of the world's largest protected areas. The national park is also known to be home to a rich biodiversity of both land and water creatures.
Among the biodiverse species habiting the Madidi National Park are a newly-discovered bat with a freakishly long tongue and a robber frog with gold-rimmed eyes.
In an 18-month long study called Identidad Madidi set out to explore the biodiversity of the Bolivian national park, scientists of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) found the species which, according to the researchers, are "little-documented," as early as the first leg of the expedition which began June this year.
Professional herpetologists from the Bolivian Faunal Collection and the National Natural History Museum James Aparicio and Mauricio Ocampo also found available literature that supported their discovery as probably new species that need to be confirmed through further genetic studies.
The slick rubber frog, also called a big-headed frog (Oreobates sp. nov.), has an earth hue and can comfortably sit on the small palm of a child. The beady-eyed robber frog from the Craugastoridae family is considered to be a new species, with further investigations being conducted to confirm it.
According to Aparicio, the small to medium-sized robber frogs are found in the Amazon and Andes region, with 23 known species to date. "As soon as we saw these frogs' distinctive orange inner thighs, it aroused our suspicions about a possible new species, especially because this habitat has never really been studied in detail before Identidad Madrid."
Meanwhile, the nectar bat (Anoura fistulata) has a tube-tipped tongue that stretches to about 3.3 inches. One and a half times the size of the bat's body, its tongue is known to be the longest of any other mammal. The researchers said the nectar bat's creepy long tongue is just right, allowing the bat to "reach well into the deepest flowers."
The researchers noted that the tube-tipped nectar bat was first described ten years ago in Ecuador. However, in their 18-month long expedition for Identidad Madidi, this is the first time that the bat was observed in the park.
"This is just the beginning. We are incredibly proud of the team's efforts across the first two study sites and while we are expecting more new species for science, as important is the astounding number of additional species confirmed for Madidi further establishing it as the world's most biologically diverse park," said Dr. Robert Wallace at the WCS.
The second leg of the expedition has just started in Aug. 20. It will explore three more sites in the High Andes of Madidi.