Cool new frog species
For consistent readers of any number of scientific journal publications you’ll frequently come across a new frog species description. There’s almost 6000 described species of frogs. Estimates are that about half of them are suffering some sort of decline while many species have recently gone extinct. Some of those species were incredibly common, some were remarkably brilliant. Maybe one of the most well known extinctions was the golden toad of Costa Rica, Bufo periglenes. Only described in 1966 by Jay Savage, the last animal was seen in 1989. So whenever I see a new species description it is always in my thoughts, “great – but can they last?”
Mike Ready passed this one on to me this week. It is from a journal I haven’t heard of (although that’s not saying much) titled Current Science (Vol 98, #8), it is a publication of the Indian Academy of Sciences. I don’t know much about anuran phylogeny outside of the western hemisphere, which is too bad because there are some amazing animals from India, Asia, and the surrounding islands. The authors, S. D. Biju, Yogesh Shouche, Alain Dubois, S. K. Dutta and Franky Bossuyt describe not only a new species but a new genus as well. India seems to have a number of unique frogs that warrant new genus status. This frog is a member of Rhacophoridae, a family containing about 300 species of frogs including the spectacular flying frogs in the genus Rhacophorus. This animal is named Raorchestes resplendens and looks amazing! Unfortunately, the abstract ends with this warning: “The new species, Raorchestes resplendens sp. nov. is likely restricted to less than 3 sq. km on the summit of Anamudi, and deserves immediate conservation priority.” It’s a shame that this remarkable animal will likely be only known by these photos and only by a relatively few scientists and enthusiasts. I don’t want to violate any copyright issues and offer the publication here but visit the journal’s site and check out this frog before it’s too late!