Hinterland Green

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fanged Frog Among 163 New Species Discovered in Mekong River Region of Southeast Asia

WWF International said a gecko with leopard-like spots on its body and a fanged frog that eats birds are among the 163 new species discovered last year in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia. Researchers working for the group have warned that the effects of climate change, plus an upsurge in droughts and floods, pose a serious threat to the diverse habitat that supports these species, as well as the traditional threats such as poaching, pollution and habitat destruction. The environmental group also said scientists discovered 100 plants, 28 fish, 18 reptiles, 14 amphibians, two mammals and one bird species in the region.

Fanged frog, or Limnonectes megastomias (WWF International)

The fanged frog, given the scientific name Limnonectes megastomias, lies in wait along streams for prey including birds and insects. Scientists believe it uses its fangs during combat with other males. According to WWF, the species has a greatly enlarged head and enlarged fangs in its mouth. Those fangs are actually growths that protrude from the jawbone.
Males of the species use fangs in male-to-male combat situations and scientists have observed frogs with missing limbs, and multiple scars. There are a number of differences between the males and females of the species. Unlike many other species of frogs, the males are larger than the females, have exceptionally large mouths and powerful jaws that appear to be out of proportion with the rest of its body.

The frog has only been found in three isolated and remote protected areas in eastern Thailand: at medium-to-high altitudes (600-1,500m) at Sakaerat Environmental Research Station (SERS); in Pang Si Da National Park and in the Phu
Luang Wildlife Sanctuary. Remarkably, the SERS area has been the subject of scientific study for more than 40 years, but this frog had escaped detection until now. Source: WWF International
The bottom line is that climate change is profoundly impacting the biodiversity of the Greater Mekong region. It has already been warmed and experienced more frequent and damaging extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods. Climate change is also have an adverse effect on the availability of freshwater, affecting the timing of migration and flowering, among other things. It threatens many of the region's unique species, including some of the ones newly discovered.

To read the entire report, CLICK HERE.
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