Two New Frog Species Discovered In Vietnam
November 5, 2018
Scientists with the Zoological Society of London, the Australian Museum Research Institute and The Centre for Rescue and Conservation of Organisms have discovered two new frog species in Vietnam, living in an ecosystem about 3,143 meters above sea level. The frogs, the Mount Fansipan horned frog (Megophrys fansipanesis), and the Hoang Lien horned frog (Megophrys hoangliensis), are named after the mountain in which the species was found as well as the region, respectively, according to the Zoological Society of London, which posted the discovery on Facebook. The ZSL also noted that the habitat in which they reside may be at risk due to development to support tourists, which have been flocking to the areas.
We have discovered two previously unknown species of frog living 3,143 metres above sea level on top of north Vietnam's...Posted by ZSL on Thursday, November 1, 2018
“We did unfortunately observe an enormous amount of habitat destruction and degradation at many of our study sites due to infrastructure being built for tourists and from tourists littering and defecating in the streams,” Benjamin Tapley, curator of herpetology at ZSL told BBC Wildlife. “Now that these species are named, we can determine how to try and conserve them.”
Tapley said in a news release put out by the Zoological Society of London that because of the frogs' similar appearance and nearly identical call, it was difficult to differentiate the two. The scientists recorded and analyzed the frog calls and conducted DNA analysis to determine that the frogs were indeed two distinct species.
“Because frogs are so vulnerable to predators when they call, they stopped calling when we approached," Tapley said in the release. "This meant that we often had to wait for long periods of time in precarious situations, such as, in the middle of a waterfall in the depths of the night – just waiting for a few snippets of audio. Yet collecting these calls was vital in allowing us to finally confirm they are in fact, two, completely new separate species."
“There is also an urgent need for additional amphibian surveys, particularly at high elevation sites in Vietnam where other undiscovered and potentially highly-threatened amphibian species could occur. However, the important message is, now that these species are named – we can determine how to try and conserve them.”