Spike-Skinned Tree Frog Discovered in Vietnam

April 7, 2014




Researchers who frequently explore the mountain regions of Vietnam have discovered a new species of frog on the country's Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve in Kon Tum Province and nearby mountain peaks above 5,900 feet. The frog, called the thorny tree frog (Gracixalus lumarius), is interesting in that it possesses sharp spikes on its skin, presumably to help the female frogs identify males.

 

spike skinned tree frog

Photo by Jodi Rowley

A male thorny tree frog (Gracixalus lumarius). Only males have the spikes on their skin.

“Almost every tree we looked in had these frogs. They seem to be only from the tops of mountains in this one area in Vietnam, and this region is known to be home to a bunch of species that are found nowhere else,” Rowley, a biologist at the Australian Museum Research Institute in Sydney told National Geographic.

The pink and yellow frogs are just two inches in length with the spikes covering the back and head of the male frogs. The skin feels like sandpaper, according to Rowley, and the spikes grow larger during mating season. According to the paper, the frogs are found in tree hollows that are capable of holding pools of water, as there isn't much standing water on the mountains that these frogs were found.

 

The complete paper can be found on the Zootaxa website

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