Two species of amphibians considered "lost to science" were just rediscovered in the Philippines, about half a century after either were last seen.
The species are the Palawan toadlet, which had only been seen once in the past 40 years, and the Malatgan River caecilian, a limbless amphibian (seen in the video above) that hadn't been collected in more than 50 years. Both were found on the Philippine island province of Palawan during an ongoing biodiversity survey conducted by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) and Rainforest Trust, the groups reported Tuesday.
"It’s a big day for the study of amphibians in the Philippines," Rafe Brown, an evolutionary biologist on the expedition team, told The Huffington Post in an email.
Brown said Kester Yu, a student on the expedition, found the Malatgan River caecilia and jokingly announced it was just a worm when he handed it to him.
"That was quite a moment for me," Brown said of the first time he held the specimen. "Bucket list!"
Robin Moore, a conservation officer for GWC and the ASA, said he was shocked to find the other amphibian.
“I never imagined that the Palawan toadlet would be found again within the area we were working to protect,” he said in a press release. “Finding lost species is always exciting, but to rediscover two lost species in forest that we are working to have protected is just incredible, and validates the need for projects such as this to prevent the extinction of such elusive species.”
National Geographic noted that Palawan is home to some of the last Philippine forests undeveloped by the mining and agriculture industries. Its Palawan Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary was named "the fourth-most irreplaceable protected area in the world when it comes to protecting biodiversity and species found nowhere else" in a 2013 study in the journal Science.