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Discovered 3 new species of tree frog in Vietnam
Three new species of tree frogs are discovered by scientists from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology in Lao Cai and Ha Giang.


Tree frog Rhacophorus vanbanicus is in the nature. Source: VAST

According to information from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, researchers from the Vietnam Museum of Nature, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources combined with researchers at the Zoological Institute of Sankt. Petersburg, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Cologne Zoo, Germany, have discovered and described 3 new species of tree frogs based on morphological analysis, molecular genetics and bio-sound.

In which, the tree frog Rhacophorus vanbanicus Kropachev, Orlov, Ninh, and Nguyen, 2019, was found in Van Ban district, Lao Cai province, Vietnam at an altitude of 900m. This is a species inhabiting high humidity rocky areas with fog and drizzle appearing frequently.

The other 2 species of frogs are found in Quan Ba district, Ha Giang are the jodia frog Zhangixalus jodiae Nguyen, Ninh, Orlov, Nguyen, and Ziegler, 2020 and the frank tree frog - Zhangixalus franki Ninh, Nguyen, Orlov, Nguyen, and Ziegler, 2020.

Identifying characteristics of the jo-di Tree Frog Zhangixalus jodiae Nguyen, Ninh, Orlov, Nguyen, and Ziegler, 2020 is the average body length in the range of 36.1-39.8 mm, the width and the head length equivalent, rounded snout, with cane leaf teeth; front and posterior limbs have swimming membranes, back is green without spots, cream-colored armpits with large black spots, groin and anterior-posterior part of thighs with alternating black and orange spots.

Genetically, the new species is on the same branch as Z. nigropunctautus, Z. yaoshanensis, Z. pinglongensis and Z. chenfui. Z. jodiae had the closest genetic distance to Z. pinglongensis is 3.57%. Biological tones are recorded at a temperature of 17.3oC-20.9oC with each vocal lasting 1.1 seconds and consisted of 6 points, each note about 6 milliseconds, the distance between two points about 15 milliseconds. The dominant frequency is 2.0kHz. The notes of a voice have variable amplitude, with the last point having the smallest amplitude relative to the other points.

The name of the species is named after Dr. Jodi Rowley - Australian Museum for her outstanding contributions to the study of amphibian taxonomy in Asia.

The frank tree frog - Zhangixalus franki Ninh, Nguyen, Orlov, Nguyen, and Ziegler, 2020 has a large size with an average body length of 77.9-85.8 mm in males, a blue dorsal surface with small dark brown spots with white stripes separating the upper face and lower face of the body, developing parotid glands.

The specimen is collected at an altitude of 1,300m in Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province. The typical habitat is tropical evergreen forest on the mountains. Genetically, the new species in the same branch is most closely related to the Z. duboisi species, the genetic distance between the two species is about 2.51%.

The new species is named after the late German professor, doctor, veterinarian and amphibian conservationist Frank Mutschmann in honor and recognition of his support to research and amphibian conservation projects in Vietnam.

ntptuong
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