Sunday 14 August 2016

Leptobrachella itiokai: A new species of Dwarf Litter Frog from Sarawak.

The Gunung Mulu National Park in northern Sarawak is considered to be one of the most Amphibian-rich areas on the island of Borneo, with about 90 species recorded within the park (about half the Amphibian diversity for the entire island). This includes four species of Dwarf Litter Frog, Leptobrachella spp., more than has been recorded in any similarly sized area, including one that has never been recorded outside the park. Recent studies have revealed that the distribution of Dwarf Litter Frogs is strongly segregated by by altitude, leading to the possibility that this number may not reflect the full diversity of these Frogs in the mountainous Gunung Mulu.

In a paper published in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology on 5 August 2016, Koshiro Eto, Masafumi Matsui and Kanto Nishikawa of the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies at Kyoto University describe a fifth species of Dwarf :Litter Frog from the Gunung Mulu National Park.

The new species is named Leptobrachella itiokai, in honour of Takao Itioka, an entomologist at Kyoto University and a core member of the biological researcher consortium in Sarawak. It was discovered at an altitude of 1445 m, within the known range of Leptobrachella brevicrus, by the call of the males, which is different in the two species. Only adult males of the species have been observed, females and tadpoles being unknown (though it is possible that tadpoles previously recorded in the area and assumed to belong to Leptobrachella brevicrus are in fact Leptobrachella itiokai.

 Leptobrachella itiokai, adult male specimen. Eto et al. (2016).

The examined specimens of Leptobrachella itiokai ranged from 17.1 mm to 17.8 mm in length, and were tan in colour with dark markings and a lighter underside. The eyes have a golden background and an orange outer margin to the eyes.

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