Dr Claude Gascon, co-chair of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group and Executive Vice President of Conservation International said: "This is something that has never been done before, and is hugely significant, not only because of the threats that amphibians face and our need to understand what has been happening to them better, but also because it represents an incredible opportunity for the world's amphibian scientists to rediscover long-lost species.
"The search for these lost animals may well yield vital information in our attempts to stop the amphibian extinction crisis, and information that helps humanity to better understand the impact that we are having on the planet."
CI also provided the following...
* 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT AMERICAN AMPHIBIANS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU 1. Female red-backed salamanders squash the feces of potential suitors to find out what they have been eating: they choose to mate with males who have eaten more termites, and fewer ants.
2. Spadefoot toads, found largely in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, smell like peanut butter.
3. The Spring peeper (widely distributed throughout the US and as far north as eastern and central Canada) can survive the winter season with 65% of its body water as ice.
4. Slimy salamanders – found through much of the eastern two thirds of the US – produce one of the stickiest substances known to man – it effectively glues shut the mouths of most would-be predators.
5. The "tail" of the Tailed Frog in the Pacific Northwest is actually a copulatory organ. It is very unique in that almost all other frogs can only perform external fertilization.
6. Thanks to cryoprotectant chemicals that act as "antifreeze" in and around their cells, wood frogs from all over North America can freeze solid and hop away after thawing out.
7. Amphiumas, eel-like aquatic salamanders of the southeastern US, have incredibly strong jaws that permit them to crush crayfish, their primary prey, with a single chomp. They also do a number on the fingers of biologists.
8. Possession of Colorado River Toads is illegal in California due to the popularity of "toad licking." These toads produce a powerful hallucinogen called bufotoxin.
9. American Bullfrogs – the largest North American frog – are territorial and protect their territories by calls, displays, chases, jump attacks, and even wrestling. This helps them survive 8-10 years in the wild, at an impressive size of six inches in length, with another 7-10 inches in leg length.
10. The largest amphibian in the US, (found mostly in New York, Illinois, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maryland) is the hellbender – which can grow to an enormous 30 inches in total length, making it the third largest salamander in the world.