Saturday, January 19, 2013

Newsflash: TWO New Species Found In Vietnam.

One of the biggest reasons to save the rainforest involves finding new species. National Geographic does not slack in that regard, showing us a few new species that have only been documented in January of 2013. Here are two new herps recently identified in Vietnam:


This colorful fellow is called Calotes bachae. It is an agamid lizard, meaning that it is related to agamas and Uromastyx lizards. Since there are indeed several hundred agamids in Asia, this one is in good company. There are even other light blue ones to keep the male of this new species company.

As per the National Geographic article here, "During mating season, the colors of the male lizards—which can measure up to 11 inches (28 centimeters)—become especially vivid, ranging from cobalt blue to bright turquoise. This serves to attract females and to intimidate other males, said Hartmann.
While by day the lizard's blue and green coloration is striking, at night it appears dark brown, "showing no bright coloration at all," said Hartmann, a Ph.D. candidate at the Herpetology Department at the Museum Koenig in Bonn, Germany." Surprisingly enough, this striking lizard can be found in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, as well as some reserves. 


The other big discovery is Helen's flying frog, named after the researcher Jodi Rowley's mother. Ironically, it was found on a log instead of in the trees.

Flying frogs are pretty cool on their own, but this one has extra adaptations for parachuting from tree to tree. The hands are huge, even by flying frog standards; the hind legs are webbed on almost the entire limb. If this gliding style has kept it from being discovered, it's gotta be pretty effective!

Unfortunately, both of these unusual creatures are threatened by habitat loss and too much contact with humans. Both of them were also found fairly close to civilization. Go outside sometime; you might be surprised what can be found close to your house.

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