The cloud forests of the tropics are mysterious places cloaked in mist and draped in lichen and moss. Unlike the hot humid lowlands the cloud forests of the Central Guatemalan highlands can often feel cool and damp, usually cover in cloud and regularly dropping below 20 degrees at night. And what that means is pots of frogs – not just in numbers but also species. Each valley often holds its own suite of endemic species.
In just three days in June 2014 we found 21 species of reptiles and amphibians.
And that was without getting into the cloud forest proper. Seven of those amphibians were listed as either vulnerable or critically endangered by the IUCN, mostly due to limited distributions and habitat loss as well as sensitivity to the fungal disease Chytrid.
As well as endemic frogs there are also reptiles with highly restricted ranges including the arboreal lizard Abronia fimbriata, and the pitviper Bothriechis aurifer. Unfortunately last year we saw neither of these, but we hope to be successful these and some more frogs this year in May 2015 when we return for two weeks on our CCFC expedition.
News from the field! UPDATE!
We found the alligator lizard Abronia gaiophantasma on our May 2015 Expedition and wanted to share this shot with you! Our Expeditions to Community Cloud Forest Conservation are going from strength to strength, be sure to join us next year!
As always, thank you so much to our volunteer researchers.