Bizarre new animals found in South America

1114867aScientists have found several new species of animals in the forests of Ecuador in South America, including miniature geckos, slug-sucking snakes and 30 species of rain frog

A tiny scaly-eyed gecko, Lepidoblepharis buschwaldii, will never grow much larger than this one. It is so small, it can perch on top of a pencil with room to spare.

But it was just one of several amazing species found on an expedition to the disappearing forests of Ecuador.

SnakeScientists also discovered creatures including a blunt-snouted, slug-sucking snake.  The 12ft long bushmaster viper has been hunted almost to extinction in many parts of its range. The slug-sucking snake, which features a oversized head and red beady eyes, belongs to a small group of serpents that specialise in eating snails and slugs and its closest relative is found nearly 350 miles away in Peru.

Frog30 species of rain frog.  Researchers revealed the frogs have an extraordinary life-cycle – laying eggs in trees rather than ponds which then hatch out into tiny versions of the adults barely larger than a pinhead.  This little guy is a glass frog whose heart can be seen beating through its transparent chest.

And three species of lungless salamanders, that breathe through their skin, were also logged.

The region studied in western Ecuador is already over 95 per cent deforested with land often cleared for cattle grazing.  Mountaintop cloud forests are also under threat from global warming which could dry the atmosphere.