Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two new tree frogs: Kurixalus berylliniris, Kurixalus wangi

Frogs of the genus Kurixalus belong to the family Rhacophoridae, tree frogs that mainly live in tropical forests. This family also contains the spectacular flying frogs who have extensive webbing between their hands and feet, allowing them to glide through the air.

Kurixalus frogs are not known to glide through the air and they are distributed from Himalayan front ranges of eastern India southward and eastward to Cambodia, Vietnam, southern China, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands. Two new species were found on Taiwan.

The scientific name of the first species, Kurixalus berylliniris,is Latin and means 'green-coloured iris' (see image). The second species was named after pioneer herpetologist Ching-Shong Wang.

For the experts: Two new species of rhacophorid tree frog were identified in Taiwan. In both new taxa, derived reproductive characteristics of laying eggs in tree holes and oophagous tadpoles are shared with Kurixalus eiffingeri, but they are divergent from each other in molecular genetics, mating calls, and tadpole and adult morphology. The morphological characteristics and the molecular phylogenetic evidence support the hypothesis that the two new species, Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. and Kurixalus wangi sp. n., are both monophyletic lineages.

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