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30 April 2011

The Vampire Tree Frog

The Vampire Tree Frog (Rhacophorus vampyrus) lives in the Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, in Vietnam. Its common name was coined after the tadpoles, which have a pair of hooks on the lower lips which project away from the mouth. Scientists speculate that these fang-like projections may be used for hunting or to feed onto unfertilised eggs provided as extra food source to the larvae. The original description provides more info on this rare foam-nest species.

29 April 2011

RADIATED TORTOISE DRIVEN TO EXTINCTION


The Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), one of the most culturally significant and iconic species in Madagascar, is being driven to extinction. Among the reasons are that this is becoming a more common source of food for local people and a highly prized commodity for poachers. Unsustainable harvesting, collection for the illegal pet trade, and habitat loss are among the major treats that threatens the survival of this species.  
Source:

THE ANTIGUAN RACER (Alsophis antiguae) IS BACK



Only 50 individuals of the Antiguan racer remained in the wild by 1995, when is was dubbed “the world’s rarest snake”. Through the efforts of Fauna & Flora International, this colubrid is back to Antigua and adjacent islands, counting to some 500 individuals at present.
Read the complete story.

A FLYING RESCUE MISSION FOR SIAMESE CROCODILES


15 Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) that were caught between construction hydro dams sites in the Stung Atay river, Cambodia, were rescued from places they were at risk. The river flows through Pursat and Koh Kong Provinces in Southwest Cambodia, and has two dams whose construction began in 2008. When the hydro electric Project completes, over 4000 hectares of rainforest will be flooded.
Read the complete story at the Fauna & Flora International site.

28 April 2011

NEW GENUS OF FROGS FROM SRI LANKA


A new genus (Taruga, Family Rhacophoridae) was proposed for foam-nesting tree frogs previously assigned to Polypedates and living in Sri Lanka.  All the species in the genus (T. eques, T. fastigo and T. longinasus) have restricted distributions mostly in the forested highlands of Sri Lanka.
Adults in the new genus are easily distinguished from adult Polypedates by having a very much acute head, possessing prominent cone-like projections around the cloacal opening, and a straighter supratympanic fold. Taruga tadpoles, among other diagnostic characters, have just an opening between legs and tail, without forming a tube, thus contrasting with Polypedates larvae, which have such tube.
The nameTaruga comes from Sanskrit, meaning "one who climbs trees", making allusion to the arboreal life habits in these frogs.
The original description can be downloaded from: Taruga, New Genus

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