This project aims to “rediscover” Indian amphibian species in the wild that have not been recorded scientifically for anywhere between 18 and 169 years. The concern is that some of the 50 or so species on the wanted list might have become extinct, given that amphibian declines and extinctions have been reported worldwide in recent years.
Many of the “lost” Indian species are known only from their museum type specimens, often historical material held only in the NHM, having been collected during the colonial period.
The NHM is an official Institutional Partner in the LAI project along with several international conservation NGOs. The project is organised by the University of Delhi and supported by the Indian government Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Both David and Mark have worked in India and other countries with local collaborators over many years, focusing in particular on the diversity, evolution and biogeography of the burrowing, legless caecilian amphibians. Two South American examples of these animals can be seen among the species of the day for 2010: Rhinatrema bivittatum; and Atretochoana eiselti.