New species found in the Darién

Research on the biodiversity of flora and fauna in the Darién National Park has revealed in recent years new species that are in the process of being presented to the world.

Between 2014 and 2016, Panamanian scientists identified 16 species of fauna and flora new to science: 1 amphibian, 3 reptiles and 12 plants in the Darién.

The results of the investigations were presented by the scientists during the XXII Congress of the Mesmerican Society for Biology and Conservation , a few days ago at the Sheraton Grand.

Amphibians and reptiles

The biologist Abel Batista heads a group of researchers who have reported in recent years the discovery of about 10 new species of amphibians and reptiles.  The most recent ones are:  a particular frog that when it sings forms two small round sacks on its head, a lizard and two serpents. The species live in very remote areas, in the highest parts of the forest, and have not yet been named.

During his speech, Batista lamented the possible effects in Darién of the fungus that has almost wiped out amphibian populations: "Before we would see many frogs in the Darienita jungle but in recent years we have hardly seen specimens of the species discovered a few years ago".

The flora

Meanwhile, the biologist Juvenal Batista explained the work they did to separate three species of plants that were grouped as Eschweilera integrifolia and give them their own identity, a process they are currently developing.

"It was thought that these three new plants were all of the species Eschweilera integrifolia, but they are different. The main distinctive features appear in the barks, fruits and seeds ", shares Batista.

"When the process of describing the three plants is ready, it will be published and a name will be added to each one," he adds.

On the other hand, the biologist Orlando Ortiz discovered nine unpublished species for science, all endemic to Darien and all belonging to the family of the Araceae.

Ortiz also found a species in Darién that was believed to be present only in the forests of Colombia.

At present, Ortiz details, the properties of each species are being analyzed with the help of herbal colleagues from the United States and Italy to document, name and report them.

Also participating in the presentation were biologists Ricardo Moreno and Karla Aparicio, to share details of their studies of jaguars and the harpy eagle, respectively.

Moreno stressed that although the condition of the jaguar in the Darién National Park is one of the best in the country, it is still a low level presence, while Aparicio highlighted the impact of the climate and the loss of habitat in Darién in the process of reproduction of the harpy eagle.

All the scientific studies are part of the Darién Fund initiative