Sunday, 4 March 2012

New Spadefoot Toad from southeastern Laos.

Eastern Spadefoot Toads of the genus Leptobrachium are found in India, Southeast Asia, Southern China and the islands of the Sunda Arc. They are related to Horned Toads, Horned Frogs, Spiny Toads, Asian Toads, Mountain Toads, Borneo Frogs and Karin Hill Frogs. Many Eastern Spadefoot Toad species have split coloured irises to their eyes, with the top part of the iris a different colour to the rest of the eye.

I a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 10 January 2012, a team lead by Bryan Stuart of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences describe a new species of Eastern Spadefoot Toad from southeastern Loas, named as Leptobrachium xanthops, the Yellow-eyed Eastern Spadefoot Toad.

Female Leptobrachium xanthops, the Yellow-eyed Eastern Spadefoot Toad. From Stuart et al. (2012).

Leptobrachium xanthops is a stocky dark grey toad 45-57 mm in (adult) length. It is pale on the underside and has a distinctive pale yellow arc across the top part of its eye. It was not observed to make any vocalizations.

Male Leptobrachium xanthops, the Yellow-eyed Eastern Spadefoot Toad. From Stuart et al. (2012).

The toads were discovered in wet evergreen forest on the Dakchung Plateau, in southeastern Laos, at an altitude of 1450-1500 m. All were found within 15 m of wide, fast flowing rocky streams. Stuart et al. speculate that they are probably also present in other upland areas of southern Laos, and adjacent areas of Vietnam.

Map of Laos and the surrounding countries showing the area where the toads were found (black star). From Stuart et al. (2012).

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