|A corner of the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, 10km from Đà Nẵng. The reserve is seen as one of the most biodiverse areas in Việt Nam. — VNS Photo Công Thành
ĐÀ NẴNG — A new amphibian was discovered by a group of scientists and biologists in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve in the central city following researches between 2012-18. A scientific report of the new species was released in the scientific magazine Zootaxa – a peer-reviewed scientific mega journal for animal taxonomists, on Thursday.
Nguyễn Thành Luân, scientific officer of the Asian Turtle Programme-Indo-Myanmar Conservation confirmed to Việt Nam News on Thursday that the species – Rowley’s litter frog (leptolalax rowleyae) was found by Vietnamese Dr Phan Thị Hoa from Đà Nẵng College for teachers’ training in 2012 when she was completing her thesis on reptile and amphibian species in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.
Luân said Hoa found a population of the frog in the forest 400m above sea level, but the species had not yet been identified.
Luân said he and Hoa together with Vietnamese scientists and colleagues from Russia and Canada continued research on the species.
Luân, who authored the newly published report in Zootaxa magazine, said the group then identified Rowley’s litter frog as the new species through research and photos.
Researchers said the new frog was named after Dr Rowley Jodi from Australia who spent a long time researching and working on the conservation of amphibian species in Việt Nam from 2007.
Luân said the frog measures only 3cm and lives upstream in evergreen forests. The frog can not be easily found in the forest as it often hides deeply in thick layers of dead leaves and its sound was believed to be insects’.
Scientists said the discovery of the new frog showed that the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve is one of the most bio-diverse areas in Việt Nam and needs more research in the near future as well as strict conservation and protection measures.
Luân said the new frog had not yet been classified as endangered, but he warned that human activities and waste discharge in streams in the reserve must be banned.
In 2016, the Southern Institute of Ecology also discovered three new plant species of the ginger family that were unknown to the world.
According to the latest report from the institute, the 4,439ha Sơn Trà Reserve, 600 metres above sea level, listed 370 animal species and 1,010 plant species.
The reserve, 10km away from Đà Nẵng, has 43 plant species listed as endangered in Việt Nam’s Red Book and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
More than 237 herds of the endangered red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathryx nemaeus) with over 1,300 individuals are living in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.
In 2016, IUCN agreed to promote the red-shanked douc langur as a Critically Endangered (CR) species, granting it termless protection status in the world.
The Đà Nẵng-based centre for biodiversity research and conservation, GreenViet, warned that the development of concrete buildings around the reserve, mostly holiday beach resorts, would soon push the endangered primates into extinction. — VNS
|Rowley’s litter frog (leptolalax rowleyae) is a new amphibian species found in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve in Đà Nẵng. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Thành Luân of the Asian Turtle Programme