Kalimantan has a new species of horned frog

Kalimantan has a new species of horned frog
Megophrys kalimantanensis. (The Indonesian Science Institution/LIPI)
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Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – A research team from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI); the Kyoto University, Japan; the Aichi University of Education, Japan; the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB); and the Semarang State University recently described a new species of horned frog (Megophrys kalimantanensis) found in Indonesia’s island of Kalimantan.

“This new species was collected from expeditions in the Meratus Mountains in South and East Kalimantan, also in Bario, Sarawak and the Crocker Mountains in Sabah, Malaysia,” a researcher of herpetology (a branch of biology that specializes in studying two groups of vertebrates: amphibians and reptiles) from the LIPI Biology Research Center, Amir Hamidy, said as quoted here on Saturday from the LIPI website.

The morphology of the Kalimantan horned frog is very similar to the pinocchio horned frog (Megophrys nasuta) found in Sumatra, Kalimantan, the Malay Peninsula and the surrounding small islands.

“The first specimen of this new species was actually collected in 2008 by a senior researcher at the LIPI Biology Research Center, Irvan Sidik, with the name of the pinocchio horned frog,” said Amir.

Characteristic features

Compared to pinocchio horned frogs, this new species of Kalimantan frog has a horn (dermal accessory) on the snout and eyes that are shorter than that of pinocchio horned frogs.

The new frog species also has a pair of additional lateral folds on the wing.

When the frog is still young (tadpole), its color is dark brown, and it tends to be orange-brown and pale brown as it becomes mature.

Acoustically, the individual male sound of the new species has more and longer variations than that of the pinocchio horned frogs.

“Based on the results of the analysis, we conclude that the species is a new one and is named Megophrys kalimantanensis,” Amir explained.

Kalimantanensis is the toponym of the name of the island of Borneo.

Habitat

The discovery of the Kalimantan horned frogs in the northern mountainous parts of Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), Malaysia and the Meratus mountains, which then entered the Indonesian territory is very surprising, considering the two locations are about 950 kilometers apart.

Although quite far away, the Kalimantan horned frog found in the two regions has very low genetic variation and shows the same type.

“The national boundary between Malaysia and Indonesia does not apply to this new type. The stretch of peatlands and lowland forests between the north and south of Kalimantan Island seems to be a barrier, so this new species can only be found in mountainous areas both north and south of the island,” Amir pointed out.

The discovery of a new species of Kalimantan horned frog was published in the Zootaxa journal, volume 4679.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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