first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki A team of Russian and Vietnamese researchers described Ophryophryne elfina, the Elfin mountain toad, in the journal ZooKeys last month.The toad, one of the smallest species of horned mountain toads ever described to science, was given the name Ophryophryne elfina, which roughly translates to “elfish eyebrow toad” — and the researchers who made the discovery say that there is evidence to suggest that the species could already be considered endangered.The species name “elfina,” of course, derives from the English word “elf,” small, magical forest creatures found in German and Celtic folklore. A new species of Asian mountain toad belonging to the genus Ophryophryne has been discovered in the the Truong Son or Annamite mountains of Vietnam, an area of high diversity for the group.The toad, one of the smallest species of horned mountain toads ever described to science, was given the name Ophryophryne elfina, which roughly translates to “elfish eyebrow toad” — and the researchers who made the discovery say that there is evidence to suggest that the species could already be considered endangered.A team of Russian and Vietnamese researchers described Ophryophryne elfina, the Elfin mountain toad, in the journal ZooKeys last month.The species name elfina, of course, refers to elves — small, magical forest creatures found in German and Celtic folklore. The new toads have horn-like projections above their eyes and are as diminutive as their namesake: at around three centimeters in length, they are the smallest known species of the genus Ophryophryne.The researchers were also inspired by the toad’s unique habitat when devising the species name. The Elfin mountain toad lives in highland wet subtropical evergreen forest on mountain summits at elevations higher than 1,800 meters (about 5,900 feet) or on the slopes of the eastern side of Langbian Plateau, which lies in the southern Annamite Mountains. “Both the rocks and the dwarf curbed trees are covered with a heavy layer of moss, whilst a thick misty fog is constantly lingering amongst the trees,” the researchers note in a statement announcing the discovery. “This is why such wet mountain ecosystems are known as elfin forests.”Paratypes of Ophryophryne elfina sp. n. in life. A–D Bidoup Mt., Bidoup–Nui Ba N.P., Lam Dong Prov., 2000 m a.s.l.: A ZMMU A-4788 (field number NAP-01449), male, dorsolateral view B ZMMU A-4788 (field number NAP-01455), female, dorsolateral view C ZMMU A-4788 (field number NAP-01449), male, ventral view D ZMMU A-4788 (field number NAP-01455), female, ventral view E–F Chu Yang Sin Mt., Chu Yang Sin N.P., Dak Lak Prov., 1800 m a.s.l.: E ZMMU A-5691 (field number ABV-00580), metamorph, dorsolateral view F ZMMU A-5691 (field number ABV-00581), metamorph, dorsolateral view. Photos by N.A. Poyarkov. Image via Poyarkov Jr et al. (2017) doi:10.3897/zookeys.672.10624.The Elfin mountain toad is now one of three Ophryophryne species known to inhabit the Langbian Plateau. While all three share the same habitat, however, they are easily identified by their advertisement calls, which resemble whistling birds, according to the researchers.In addition to describing the new species in ZooKeys, the researchers also examine the distribution of its two closest relatives.“A hidden diversity of Ophryophryne frogs is revealed in the mountains of the Langbian Plateau, where previously only one species, O. gerti, was correctly reported,” the researchers write in ZooKeys. “In our study it is shown that the previous records of O. cf. gerti from central Vietnam and Laos (Ohler 2003, Bain et al. 2007) actually belong to different species of Ophryophryne and thus we clarify the range of O. gerti showing that this species is likely endemic to the Langbian Plateau. The known distribution of O. synoria is also extended, previously known exclusively from Cambodia (Stuart et al. 2006) and adjacent provinces of Vietnam (Vassilieva et al. 2016), and demonstrate that this species has a considerably wider range encompassing the central, northern and western edges of the Langbian Plateau.”O. elfina is endemic to the northern and eastern edges of the plateau, the researchers found. Like all toads of the genus Ophryophryne, they depend on clean, fast-flowing mountain streams to reproduce and “appear to be restricted to relatively undisturbed broadleaf evergreen forests,” the researchers note. As range-restricted habitat specialists, they are therefore at considerable risk due to deforestation and other destructive changes to their habitat.“The Langbian Plateau is known for its high herpetofaunal diversity and endemism, a significant portion of which has been discovered only recently,” the researchers write. “Despite this increase in species discoveries, many areas of the Annamites have received little scientific attention and are very likely to host further previously unknown diversity. The need for biological exploration in this region is made more urgent given the ongoing loss of natural habitats due to logging, road construction, increasing agricultural pressure and other human activities.”Holotype of Ophryophryne elfina sp. n. in life (ZMMU A-5669, male, field number NAP-02658), dorsolateral view. Photo by N.A. Poyarkov.CITATIONPoyarkov Jr, N. A., Van Duong, T., Orlov, N. L., Gogoleva, S. S., Vassilieva, A. B., Nguyen, L. T., … & Mahony, S. (2017). Molecular, morphological and acoustic assessment of the genus Ophryophryne (Anura, Megophryidae) from Langbian Plateau, southern Vietnam, with description of a new species. ZooKeys, 672, 49. doi:10.3897/zookeys.672.10624Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Amphibians, Animals, Environment, Frogs, Herps, Mountains, New Species, Research, Species Discovery, Wildlife last_img