2018 Vol. 39, No. 3
We report on the discovery of a new genus of microhylid subfamily Asterophryinae from northern and eastern Indochina, containing three new species. Vietnamophryne Gen. nov. are secretive miniaturized frogs (SVL<21 mm) with a mostly semi-fossorial lifestyle. To assess phylogenetic relationships, we studied 12S rRNA-16S rRNA mtDNA fragments with a final alignment of 2 591 bp for 53 microhylid species. External morphology characters and osteological characteristics analyzed using micro-CT scanning were used for describing the new genus. Results of phylogenetic analyses assigned the new genus into the mainly Australasian subfamily Asterophryinae as a sister taxon to the genus Siamophryne from southern Indochina. The three specimens collected from Gia Lai Province in central Vietnam, Cao Bang Province in northern Vietnam, and Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand proved to be separate species, different both in morphology and genetics (genetic divergence 3.1%≤P≤5.1%). Our work provides further evidence for the “out of Indo-Eurasia” scenario for Asterophryinae, indicating that the initial cladogenesis and differentiation of this group of frogs occurred in the Indochina Peninsula. To date, each of the three new species of Vietnamophryne Gen. nov. is known only from a single specimen; thus, their distribution, life history, and conservation status require further study.
A new species of small tree frog from a primary montane tropical forest of central Vietnam, Tay Nguyen Plateau, is described based on morphological, molecular, and acoustic evidence. The Golden Bug-Eyed Frog, Theloderma auratum sp. nov. , is distinguishable from its congeners and other small rhacophorid species based on a combination of the following morphological attributes: (1) bony ridges on head absent; (2) smooth skin completely lacking calcified warts or asperities; (3) pointed elongated tapering snout; (4) vocal opening in males absent; (5) vomerine teeth absent; (6) males of small body size (SVL 21.8–26.4 mm); (7) head longer than wide; ED/SVL ratio 13%–15%; ESL/SVL ratio 16%–20%; (8) small tympanum (TD/EL ratio 50%–60%) with few tiny tubercles; (9) supratympanic fold absent; (10) ventral surfaces completely smooth; (11) webbing between fingers absent; (12) outer and inner metacarpal tubercles present, supernumerary metacarpal tubercle single, medial, oval in shape; (13) toes half-webbed: I 2–2¼ II 1½–2¾ III 2–3¼ IV 3–1½ V; (14) inner metatarsal tubercle present, oval; outer metatarsal tubercle absent; (15) iris bicolored; (16) dorsal surfaces golden-yellow with sparse golden-orange speckling or reticulations and few small dark-brown spots; (17) lateral sides of head and body with wide dark reddish-brown to black lateral stripes, clearly separated from lighter dorsal coloration by straight contrasting edge; (18) ventral surfaces of body, throat, and chest greyish-blue with indistinct brown confluent blotches; (19) upper eyelids with few (3–5) very small flat reddish superciliary tubercles; (20) limbs dorsally reddish-brown, ventrally brown with small bluish-white speckles. The new species is also distinct from all congeners in 12S rRNA to 16S rRNA mitochondrial DNA fragment sequences (uncorrected genetic distance P>8.9%). Advertisement call and tadpole morphology of the new species are described. Our molecular data showed Theloderma auratum sp. nov. to be a sister species of Th. palliatum from Langbian Plateau in southern Vietnam.
We describe a new species of megophryid frog from Phu Yen Province in southern Vietnam. Leptolalax macrops sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following morphological attributes: (1) body size medium (SVL 28.0–29.3 mm in three adult males, 30.3 mm in single adult female); (2) supra-axillary glands present, creamy white; ventrolateral glands indistinct; (3) tympanum externally distinct; (4) dorsal skin roughly granular with larger tubercles, dermal ridges on dorsum absent; (5) rudimentary webbing present between fingers I–II and II–III; rudimentary webbing between all toes; fingers and toes without dermal fringes; (6) in life ventral surface greyish-violet with white speckling; (7) supratympanic fold distinct, dark brown in life; (8) iris bicolored, typically golden in upper half, fading to golden green in lower half; (9) tibia short (TbL/SVL 0.44–0.45 in males); and (10) eyes large and protuberant (ED/SVL 0.15–0.16 in males). From all congeners for which comparable sequences are available, the new species differs markedly in the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene sequence (P-distance>5.7%). The new species is currently known only from montane evergreen tropical forests of Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, and M’Drak District of Dak Lak Province at elevations of 470–630 m a.s.l. We suggest the new species should be considered as Data Deficient following the IUCN’s Red List categories. We also report a previously unknown Leptolalax mtDNA lineage from an evergreen tropical forest in the Hoa Thinh District of Phu Yen Province, which may also represent an undescribed species.
We describe a new karst-dwelling Cyrtodactylus from Ban Thathom, Xiangkhoang Province, northeastern Laos. The new species can be distinguished from other congeners by having four dark dorsal bands between limb insertions, a discontinuous nuchal loop, 10 precloacal pores in males or 10–12 precloacal pits (females) separated by a diastema from a series of enlarged femoral scales bearing 18 or 19 pores (male) or 8–10 pits (females) along each femur, 14–18 dorsal tubercle rows at midbody, no precloacal groove, 30–36 midbody scale rows across belly between ventrolateral skin folds, transversely enlarged subcaudal plates, and a maximal known snout-vent length of 75.5 mm. Our description brings to 22 the number of Cyrtodactylus species recorded from Laos.
Based on morphological and genetic evidence we evaluated the taxonomic status of a newly discovered forest-dwelling population of skink (genus Scincella) from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia. From phylogenetic analysis of a 668-bp fragment of the mtDNA COI and diagnostic morphological characters we allocate the newly discovered population to the Scincella reevesii–S. rufocaudata species complex and describe it as Scincella nigrofasciata sp. nov. The new skink species can be distinguished from all other Southeast Asian congeners by the following combination of morphological characters: snout-vent length (SVL) 40.0–52.6 mm; relative tail length (TaL/SVL ratio) 1.25–1.94; prefrontals in broad contact; infralabials 6; primary temporals 2; relative forelimb length (FIL/SVL ratio) 0.20–0.22; relative hindlimb length (HIL/SVL ratio) 0.30–0.33; relative forearm length (FoL/SVL ratio) 0.14–0.16; adpressed forelimbs and hind limbs either overlapping (0.4–2.2 mm) or separated (1.9–2.3 mm); midbody scale rows 32–33, paravertebral scales 69–74, vertebral scales 65–69; dorsal scales between dorsolateral stripes 8; comparatively slender fingers and toes, subdigital lamellae under fourth toe 15–17; dark discontinuous regular dorsal stripes 5–7; distinct black dorsolateral stripes, narrowing to lateral sides and extending to 52%–86% of total tail length. We provide additional information on the holotype of Scincella rufocaudata (Darevsky & Nguyen, 1983), and provide evidence for the species status of Scincella rupicola. Our discovery brings the number of Scincella species in Cambodia to five and emphasizes the incompleteness of knowledge on the herpetofaunal diversity of this country.