The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil

Nat Commun. 2013:4:1959. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2959.


Amphibian declines are seen as an indicator of the onset of a sixth mass extinction of life on earth. Because of a combination of factors such as habitat destruction, emerging pathogens and pollutants, over 156 amphibian species have not been seen for several decades, and 34 of these were listed as extinct by 2004. Here we report the rediscovery of the Hula painted frog, the first amphibian to have been declared extinct. We provide evidence that not only has this species survived undetected in its type locality for almost 60 years but also that it is a surviving member of an otherwise extinct genus of alytid frogs, Latonia, known only as fossils from Oligocene to Pleistocene in Europe. The survival of this living fossil is a striking example of resilience to severe habitat degradation during the past century by an amphibian.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / anatomy & histology*
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Fossils*
  • Israel
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KC867706
  • GENBANK/KC867707
  • GENBANK/KC867708
  • GENBANK/KC867709
  • GENBANK/KC867710
  • GENBANK/KC867711