30 December 2011

Have I Got Newts for You - December News

Your monthly round up of reptile and amphibian news from around the world, spotted by Froglife’s Conservation Communication Officer Lucy Benyon.

Is it a bird?... No, it’s a frog.
Northern Vietnam has shown to be home to a small species of frog that sounds more like a bird than an amphibian. The newly discovered Quang’s tree frog uses clicks, whistles and chirrups in uniquely random combinations.  Further research in Vietnam has uncovered over 200 new species, including a psychedelic gecko - the lizard has bright orange legs, a yellow neck and a blue body with yellow bars on its bright orange sides; it was discovered on an island in southern Vietnam.
Source: Mongaby and The Telegraph

Is it a beetle?... No, it’s a frog
At only 8-9mm long Paedophryne dekot and Paedophryne verrucosa are the smallest frogs in the world. These tiny amphibians live amongst leaf litter in New Guinea, where miniaturised frogs are fairly common. The females of these species are so small they’re only able to carry two eggs.
Source: Science Daily 

Glimmer of hope for world’s most threatened tortoise
The ploughshare tortoise, or angonoka, is native to the island of Madagascar but burning of its habitat and capture for the pet trade left the wild population plummeting. For the last 25 years the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has been working to stop the species disappearing forever and this month has been celebrating after releasing 20 captive-bred tortoises into the wild. In 1998 the tortoise’s natural habitat was declared a National Park, the first in Madagascar created to save a single species, and it’s hoped these amazing reptiles have now taken another step away from the brink of extinction.
Source: Wildlife Extra

Location of new horned viper kept a secret
Scientists have discovered a uniquely coloured horned viper in the forests of Tanzania but are keeping quiet about its location. New species, like Matilda’s horned viper, are under threat from the pet trade so the further details about its habitat are being kept under wraps. Several individuals have been collected by researchers to initiate a captive breeding programme.
Source: Mongabay

American ‘toads on roads’ group premiere their documentary
A ‘Toads on Roads’ group in Philadelphia have just screened the premiere of their documentary ‘The Toad Detour’. Every year thousands of America toads were being killed near Roxborough until the group leapt into action. The 40 minute film features footage of the toads migrating and interviews with some of the Patrollers.
Source: NewsWorks 

Amphibian skin in the spotlight
Odorous frogs – so-called because of the pungent smell of rotting fish they give off – could hold the key to dealing with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Researchers found that the frogs secrete numerous chemicals to deal with the multitude of bacteria that share their warm, wet habitats and they could prove crucial in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Research has also been underway to investigate the decline in hellbender giant salamanders – scientists have been looking at micro-organisms on the skin that might explain why the salamanders are failing to regenerate tissue after injury.
Source: io9.com and The Sticky Tongue Project

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