January 22, 2014
“I had a pretty good idea that the species was undescribed the moment I heard its faint chirp,” Jodi Rowley of the Australian Museum Research Institute told mongabay.com.
One characteristic shared by other Asian leaf-litter frog species is that they make noises similar to insects, but the calls of this new species are unique. While Rowley’s colleagues found many frog species in the stream, Rowley spent hours in the fog filled night sifting through the leaves in one spot trying to find the unknown frog. The moment she finally located the frog, she was filled with a sense of triumph.
Leptolalax botsfordi. Photo by Jodi Rowley.
The genus Leptolalax is a group of small-bodied frogs whose true biodiversity has only started gaining appreciation in the last five years due to increased exploration and improvements in acoustic and molecular data analysis. Despite being scientifically classified as frogs, they are sometimes referred to as toads due to their bumpy skin. This particular species is more vigorous than other Asian leaf-litter frogs, and has a distinct brownish-pink belly and huge white glands on its thighs.
Team members at Mount Fansipan Basecamp. Photo by Jodi Rowley.
Rowley says that she and her colleagues plan to continue working in Vietnam to gather as much information as possible about the amphibians and their conservation status.
“With the discovery of Botsford’s Asian leaf-litter toad, and Sterling’s toothed toad from the same high-elevation stream... it’s clear that the area is important for amphibian conservation,” said Rowley.
Clouds and fog fill Mount Fansipan. Despite being a heavily visited area by tourists, this rough environment has seen little biological research.
Leptolalax botsfordi. Photo by Jodi Rowley.
Mount Fansipan. Photo by Jodi Rowley.
- Rowley et al (2013). A new species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from the highest mountain in Indochina. Zootaxa 3737 (4): 415–428 http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3737.4.5
- Nguyen et al (2013). First Record of the Genus Oreolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from Vietnam with Description of a New Species. Copeia 2013 (2): 213-222 http://dx.doi.org/10.1643/CH-12-021
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Microhabitats could buffer some rainforest animals against climate change
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