Reports of the Kandyan dwarf toad's death have been greatly exaggerated

Researchers photographed this Kandyan dwarf toad in 2009, but the IUCN red list claims this species is extinct. In fact, the last time anybody saw a Kandyan dwarf toad alive was all the way back in 1876. So where did this picture come from?

New Scientist's Andrew Purcell explains:

Writing in the journal Zootaxa, the researchers who rediscovered the toad explain that they came across it during a night-time sampling session on rocks close to a fast-flowing stream. It was discovered among a group of torrent toads (Adenomus dasi), which it strongly resembles — perhaps why several previous extensive searches of the region failed to identify it. However, the researchers write that the Kandyan dwarf toad can be easily recognised by its fully webbed toes and the presence of large warts on its back.

Scientists sometimes refer to rediscovered animals as Lazarus species (though the term is more commonly used among paleontologists to describe the disappearance and re-appearance of fossils in the geological record). Sometimes these Lazarus species re-appear and stick around for a good long while. Others, however, are often at risk of succumbing to real, permanent extinction. The researchers who re-discovered the Kandyan dwarf toad fear it belongs to the latter camp.

Read more at New Scientist.