We report a new microhylid frog of the genus Kalophrynus from Peninsular Malaysia and describe it as a new species Kalophrynus kiewi based on results of molecular and morphological analyses. The new species is a large-sized Kalophrynus (snout-vent length 34–47 mm) and is morphologically very similar to K. pleurostigma, in which it has long been unrecognized, and K. meizon, but is distinguished from them molecularly and by its body size, dorsal skin texture, and relative length of hindlimb. The new species is also clearly differentiated from all the other members of the genus by molecular and morphological differences. Taxonomic and distributional problems of the genus Kalophrynus in Peninsular Malaysia are briefly discussed.
Although many anuran species in Japanese paddy ecosystems are decreasing because of recent modernization of rice paddies, Fejervarya kawamurai is one of the exceptions, being extremely abundant even in modernized paddies. To understand the reason for this phenomenon, we collected specimens of anuran larvae in 92 paddy fields in west Mikawa area, Aichi Pref., Japan, and examined the biotic and abiotic factors affecting the density of F. kawamurai using model selection procedure with GLMM. The best model indicated that larval F. kawamurai tended to be abundant in paddies with low larval densities of Hyla japonica and Pelophylax nigromaculatus. Considering that F. kawamurai tends to start breeding later in the season than H. japonica and P. nigromaculatus, we hypothesize there are some negative effects of these preceding larvae on larval F. kawamurai. Such interspecific interactions are thought to have acted as an ecological constraint for F. kawamurai in the traditional Japanese paddy ecosystem, where many anuran species sympatrically breed. Recent decrease of some early breeders like P. nigromaculatus, however, would provide relief from such restrictions to F. kawamurai, and might promote the population increase and distribution expansion of this species.
Although Ahaetulla prasina is typically a cryptic green color, they have also been observed in brown, grey and orange-yellow morphs. We recorded observations of the A. prasina color morphs found in a population within the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve (SBR), northeastern Thailand, between 2013 and 2017. We did not detect any green or brown morphs, showing that this population is dimorphic between grey (54%) and orange-yellow (46%) adults. We did not discern any geographic separation of the color morphs within this population, and sex did not determine color. We found four juveniles, all with brownish-grey bodies and yellow on their anterior dorsals. We observed one sub-adult, which was solid grey except for yellow on the top of the head. Our results suggest that this population may be genetically isolated due to the rapid development surrounding the SBR. Furthermore, color does not likely have a strong influence on adult fitness within this population. Our juvenile and sub-adult observations may indicate ontogenetic color shifts in this population of A. prasina. We recommend additional investigations into the relationship between color and A. prasina ecology. We further reason that the SBR A. prasina may be a good model population for snake genetic research in developing areas.
I describe a new frog of the microhylid genus Oreophryne from the mountains of southeastern Papua New Guinea that is unique in its combination of having a ligamentous connection between the procoracoid and scapula, webbing that reaches to the middle or distal to the penultimate tubercle of the fifth toe, fifth and third toes subequal in length, largely unpatterned dark-brown dorsum, and an advertisement call consisting of rapidly delivered unpulsed notes that sounds to the human ear like a rattle. The new species is known from the uplands of Cape Nelson and from the nearby Mt. Dayman/Mt. Suckling massif. Although its total range is relatively small, it inhabits remote high-quality rainforests that are largely undisturbed by humans at this time, although rapid climate change could pose a future threat to the species. Sixteen endemic Oreophryne species are now reported from Milne Bay Province.
A new species of salamander, Hynobius mikawaensis, is described from the eastern part of Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. It is a lentic breeder of the so-called H. lichenatus species group, and is phylogenetically closest to H. nigrescens and H. takedai. Morphologically, it differs greatly from H. nigrescens, but is very similar to H. takedai, from which it could be differentiated by some morphological traits such as shorter forelimbs and hindlimbs, but longer axilla-groin length, all relative to snout-vent length. The new species from the southern Pacific side of central Japan is completely separated geographically from H. nigrescens and H. takedai, both from the northern, Japan Sea side, by the intervening high mountains. This north/south disjunctive distributional pattern is highly unique among Japanese fauna. The range of the species is so small that immediate measure of conservation is necessary.
We collected stomach contents of sea kraits, Laticauda laticaudata, L. colubrina, and L. semifasciata around Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands of the southern Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Twelve species belonging to three families of Anguilliformes (Congridae, Muraenidae, and Ophichthidae) were detected as prey of fifteen individuals of L. laticaudata and seven individuals of L. colubrina. On the other hand, four species of the families Labridae, Opistognathidae, and Ptereleotridae were found in the stomach of three individuals of L. semifasciata. These results indicate that L. laticaudata and L. colubrina around the northern limit of their distribution (Ryukyu Islands, Japan) preyed upon anguilliform fish, as previously found at the southern limit of their distribution (Vanuatu and New Caledonia), whereas L. semifasciata consumed various families of fish other than Anguilliformes, as reported in Taiwan. Thus, it is confirmed that L. laticaudata and L. colubrina are specialist predators on anguilliform fish (eels) and that L. semifasciata is a generalist that consumes various fishes in tropical and subtropical coastal waters. The differences in prey species among these three sea kraits may not be due to geographical variation of prey availability.
In most frogs, males emit calls in the reproductive seasons, whereas females usually do not emit calls. Females of only several frog species have been known to vocalize. I here report female vocalization in two ranid species, Pelophylax nigromaculatus and P. porosus brevipodus in their overlapping reproductive season. Females of these species called in both intraspecific and interspecific interactions. There were no clear differences in acoustic characteristics of female calls between the two species or between interspecific and intraspecific interactions. Based on the situations in which females called, it is implied that functions of the female calls of P. nigromaculatus and P. p. brevipodus are quite different from those of female calls in frogs hitherto reported.
We studied specimens of the genus Leptobrachella Smith, 1925 collected from West Kalimantan, Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, and housed in the Bogor Museum as L. mjobergi Smith, 1925. Our morphological examination proved that the specimens should be identified as L. juliandringi Eto, Matsui et Nishikawa 2015. This is the first record of L. juliandringi from outside Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Brief discussion is made on the distribution of the genus in Borneo.
Despite being known to exhibit arboreal behaviours, Kaloula pulchra, the banded bullfrog, is generally considered terrestrial in its habits and is well known for burrowing into substrate. Here we report seven observations, between October 2015 and March 2017, which document arboreal behaviors in banded bullfrogs in the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve, Thailand. Our observations comprise the first record of banded bullfrogs predating invertebrates in an arboreal setting. Our observations of K. pulchra climbing large rain jars and subsequently becoming trapped inside also suggest a cause of death for this species. Additional surveys are needed to determine whether this phenomenon prevails throughout rural Thailand.
We developed 18 novel microsatellite markers for Onychodactylus japonicus using Illumina Miseq System, and tried cross-amplifications in three congeners. The number of alleles and expected heterozygosity at each locus in O. japonicus were 3–15 (mean=6.83) and 0.45–0.89 (mean=0.73), respectively. Cross-amplifications in congeners succeeded in 9–13 of 18 loci, and eight loci were consistently amplified across all four species. The markers described here will be useful not only for investigating phylogeography and fine-scale genetic structure, but also for estimating genetic diversity of endangered species or populations for conservation management.