Africa’s most biodiverse nation, Tanzania, has added a few more species to its dockets. Researchers have discovered three new amphibians in the always surprising Eastern Arc Mountains, a region which has supplied a number of new species recently. All three new species are members of the frog genus Callulina. Described in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society the researchers warn that all three of the new frogs are confined to small habitats threatened by deforestation and firewood collection.
The three new species, dubbed Callulina laphami, C. shengena, and C. stanleyi, were discovered by an international group of scientists, including Tanzanian scientists. Dwelling in forest habitat, Callulina frogs spend their days hidden away in trees or under the leaf litter; at dusk they climb into the trees where they spend the night before descending again to the ground.
The researchers recommend that each of the frogs be categorized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as Critically Endangered, given their incredibly small ranges: C. shengena has the largest habitat of the three at 13.5 square miles (35 square kilometers) and C. stanleyi the smallest at 3.7 square miles (9.7 square kilometers). The remaining habitats are threatened by forest clearing due to agriculture.
CITATION: Simon P. Loader, David J. Gower, Wilkirk Ngalason and Michelle Menegon. (2010) Three new species of Callulina (Amphibia: Anura: Brevicipitidae) highlight local endemism and conservation plight of Africa’s Eastern Arc forests. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society,160, 496–514.
New frog from Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains: Callulina stanleyi.
(11/23/2009) Researchers have discovered a new species of chameleon in southern Tanzania.
(01/04/2009) 17 previously unknown species of reptiles and amphibians have been discovered in the rainforests of eastern Tanzania, report Italian and Tanzanian scientists. Conducting surveys of the ‘virtually unexplored’ forests of the South Nguru Mountains between 2004 and 2006, Michele Menegon of the Natural Science Museum of Trento in Italy and colleagues recorded 92 species of ‘herps’, of which 17 had never before been documented. The new species — which include chameleons, tree frogs, and snakes, among others — are believed to be endemic to the region.
(07/28/2008) A newly discovered species of monkey may already be threatened with extinction, according to a study published in the journal Oryx.