Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 19th, 2008
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has announced the discovery of a previously unknown species of frog in Cambodia. The amphibian is unusual in that is has green blood and turquoise-colored bones, a result of its transparent skin and a pigment that may make the species unpalatable to predators. It was discovered by L. Lee Grismer.
The Samkos bush frog (Chiromantis samkosensis) was discovered along with three other undescribed species of frog — the Cardamom bush frog (Philautus cardamonus), Smith’s frog (Rana faber), and the Aural horned frog (Megophrys auralensis) — during surveys of the Cardamom Mountains, a remote range in Cambodia. The research turned up more than 40 amphibian species not previously known to occur in Cambodia.
The green-blooded turquoise-boned Samkos bush frog (Chiromantis samkosensis) is one of four new frog species discovered by Fauna & Flora International in Cambodia.
Cambodian natives, Thou Chav (left) and Thy Neang (right) with L. Lee Grismer, La Sierra University professor of biology, during one of his summer research excursions.
Jesse Grismer (L. Lee Grismer’s son) looks for amphibians and reptiles while dangling from a tree in the Aural Mountains of Cambodia while on a research expedition for new species of amphibians and reptiles.
FFI says the Samkos bush frog stands out among the new discoveries for its “strange” bone and blood color, thought to be the result of biliverdin, a metabolic waste product usually processed in the liver.
“In this species, the biliverdin is passed back into the blood giving it a green colour; a phenomenon also seen in some lizards,” explained FFI in a news release. “The green biliverdin is visible through the frog’s thin, translucent skin, making it even better camouflaged and possibly even causing it to taste unpalatable to predators.”
FFI says the species is apparently very rare, living in a niche habitat of evergreen forest at an elevation of around 500 meters. Little is known about its ecology other than it appears to breed in temporary rain pools.
Strangely, from what I understand, Chiromantis samkosensis is a moss frog, found in Cambodia in the Cardamom Mountains, and first described in 2007, not 2008.
Source for original announcement: Lee Grismer, L. (2007). “A New Species of Chiromantis Peters 1854 (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Phnom Samkos in the Northwestern Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia”. Herpetologica 63: 392.
Fauna & Flora International announced the discovery of the four previously unknown species of frogs in conjunction with the publication of a new field guide of frogs of Cambodia.