Monday, 19 December 2011

Two new species of moss frog found in South-East Asia

Dr Jodi Rowley , a herpetology expert at the Australian Museum, was part of a team that discovered two new species of South-East Asian moss frogs. Here she writes of the excitement at finding them - and of their significance...

December 2011: South-East Asian amphibians are both poorly known and highly threatened. That's the biggest reason that my colleagues and I spend weeks searching the montane forests of the region, discovering and documenting the amazing diversity of the amphibians found there. It's a vital first step towards amphibian conservation.

Our most recent discoveries are two small moss frogs. Moss frogs get their name because of their bumpy skin and the way they are camouflaged as greenish moss or brownish tree bark (there's also one that looks like bird poo!). Such camouflage is handy when you live in mossy trees in the forest and are likely very tasty to an array of forest predators such as snakes and birds.

The new species are small, less than 3cm long, have effective camouflage and spend most of their time up trees, making them pretty tricky to spot in the forest at night, which is probably one of the reasons they have remained undiscovered until now. That and the fact that reaching their habitat often involves a rather arduous, near-vertical trek up a mountain.

Read more here ...

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