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What’s new in the world of frogs?

on 23 April 2014.

What’s new in the world of frogs?

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Limnonectes paramacrodon may lack vocal sacs but it has been observed calling in a Singapore marsh.

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Indraneil Das Limnonectes rhacodus has been reported in Sarawak for the first time. — Photo by Indraneil Das

THE range of the Wrinkled Frog, Limnonectes rhacodus, has been extended thanks to the hard work of Indraneil Das and Pui Yong Min of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

The specimens were collected along the Belian Trail at Kubah National Park and the Batu Panggar region below the summit of Gunung Penrissen.

The discoveries extend the range of the frog 220km northwest of its last reported locality and to an elevation of 1,120 meters. This is the first time the amphibian has been reported in Sarawak.

The authors speculate the species could probably be widespread throughout western Borneo.

In other frog news, the Masked Swamp Frog, Limnonectes paramacrodon, which lack vocal sacs, were observed calling in a Singapore marsh.

The sounds were described as “fairly loud, sharp, rubbery squeaks of five to eight notes in rapid succession”.

The calls are repeated at intervals of five to 10 seconds. To produce the sound the frog “thrust its head forward with the hind part of the throat partially inflated, simultaneously vibrating the sides of the body”.

The frogs were observed and recorded by Kelvin KP Lim of the National University of Singapore.

In still more frog news, another new species of frog has been discovered in Sabah.

A Japanese team from Kytoto University headed by Dr Masafumi Matsui stated the frog closely resembles the Sarawak species Leptolalax dringi found in Mulu, but differs in body size, calls and mDna sequencing.

Species of frogs are discovered annually in Borneo even in well-documented sites.

At present there are 178 known species with 130 of these (73.3 per cent) only found in Borneo. Another 43 are also found in Peninsular Malaysia, Java, Sumatra and Bali.

The geological history and size of the island of Borneo has contributed to the frog species diversity on the island. But frogs here, as with the rest of the world, face a bleak future.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2013 (www.iucnredlist.org), 27 species are classified as not evaluated so there is no information regarding them.

Of the remainder, 15 are classified as data deficient, 54 least concern, 40 are near threatened, 30 are vulnerable, nine are endangered and three are critically endangered.

Habitat destruction due to deforestation, changing land use patterns as forests are cut for oil palm plantations, small-scale agriculture and settlements, have contributed to the loss of suitable habitats. Hunting and poaching also take a toll.

Non-indigenous species of amphibians have been imported for the pet trade and some have been linked to the spread of the devastating fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

It is fatal because the fungus coats the delicate amphibian skin blocking the pores, which are used for water and moisture, transfer, thus killing the frog from dehydration and heart failure.

Next Saturday is International Save the Frog Day because as mentioned, worldwide populations of frogs are plummeting.

On this day, from 12 noon to 12 midnight, the Bornean Frog Race 2014 is being jointly organised with Unimas and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation at Kubah National Park.

No the frogs are not racing, but participants are racing to photograph the frogs. This event aims to create awareness of the diversity of frog populations in Sarawak, their importance and to increase our appreciation of frogs and nature in general.

To learn more about Bornean Frog Race or to register go to theinternationalborneanfrograce.weebly.com.

For more information about the recently discovered frogs visit www.checklist.org.br, http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg, or www.mapress.com.

The Malaysian Nature Society
Established in 1940, the Malaysian Nature Society is the oldest scientific and non-governmental organisation in Malaysia. Our mission is to promote the study, appreciation conservation and protection of Malaysia’s nature heritage. Our 5,000-strong membership, spread across 12 branches nationwide, come from all walks of life, bound by a comment interest in nature. For further information on membership or our activities in Kuching contact us at mnskuchinggmail.com. For information on our activities in Miri contact Musa Musbah (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). You can also visit www.mns.org.my, http://This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.facebook.com/mnskb.

Source: The Borneo Post

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