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New Amphibian Species Found in SW China

Mar 14, 2016     Email"> PrintText Size

A new amphibian species of the genus Leptolalax, commonly known as the Asian litte frog, from southwest China's Yunnan Province has been confirmed.

The new species, Leptolalax tengchongensis, was spotted in the Tengchong Section of Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve in the west of Yunnan, and was named after the county of Tengchong.

The discovery was jointly made by scientists from the Hong Kong-based Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG), Sun Yat-Sen University and Kunming Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The field research began in April of 2014 and is still ongoing.

Yang Jianhuan, an analyst with HFBG, said the new frog can be distinguished from its congeners by a combination of multiple characters, including its relatively small sizes between 2 and 3 centimeters, shagreen dorsal skin scattered with fine, round-reddish tubercles, toes with rudimentary webbing and narrow lateral fringes, and flanks with several distinct and large dark blotches.

"Unlike ordinary frogs we see in fields or near water, Leptolalax tengchongensis only live in clean mountain brooks," Yang said. "They hide in the day and come out and explore under shrubs, on dead leaves and between rock gaps by streams after sunset."

Yang said they also had a special call sound. During the mating season, male frogs croak like crickets or similar insects. However, thanks to their camouflage, they are still difficult to be found despite the sound they make.

To date, the new species has only been found in evergreen broadleaf forests at elevations between 2,000-2,100 meters.

Gaoligong Mountain has always interested global scholars in the field of herpetology, the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians.

New species, including Bufo tuberospinius, Amolops viridimaculatus and Trimeresurus yunnanensis, were found around Tengchong Section in recent years.

In January, scientists from Kunming Institute of Zoology confirmed the discovery of another rare frog that can breed without the help of water.

The frogs, spotted in Tibet, were categorized under the oldest available generic name for this clade -- Liurana, and joined 12 other Chinese amphibian families.

"The discoveries further demonstrate our ignorance of the diversity of amphibians and reptiles in the area," Yang said. "And the protection work is heavier than ever." (Xinhua)


(Editor: CHEN Na)



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