Volcano Could Mean Extinction for the Rocket Frog
With an eruption looming, scientists struggle to collect the last of a rare species to breed for the future.
Biologists near Quito, Ecuador are rushing to evacuate a critically endangered frog species before a volcanic eruption wipes it out.
The small, chocolate-striped rocket frog—Hyloxalus (Colostethus) jacobuspetersi—was once common around Quito, even in pastures and backyards (it adapts well to peopled landscapes). Now, for unclear reasons, there is just one population left. Fewer than 100 adults, plus an unknown number of juveniles and tadpoles cling to life in the Andes along the Río Pita, a river fed by melting snow and ice atop the recently active volcano Cotopaxi.
In August, Cotopaxi, whose activity endangers more than 300,000 people, coughed up steam and ash after lying virtually dormant since the early 1900s. The output was limited, but the mountain continues