Sunday, August 28, 2016

[Herpetology • 2014] Leptolalax laui • A New Species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from Southern China



Lau’s Leaf Litter Toad | Leptolalax laui
Sung, Yang & Wang, 2014

Abstract
 A new species, Leptolalax laui sp. nov. is described based on specimens collected from Hong Kong and Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China. The new species can be distinguished from other known congeners by morphological and molecular data. The new species is characterized by the following characters: 1) small size (adult males SVL 24.8.1 mm−26.7 mm); 2) near immaculate creamy white chest and belly; 3) broad lateral fringes on toes; 4) head longer or as long as wide; 5) distinct dark brown spots in flank; 6) moderate dermal fringes on fingers; 7) brown or reddish-brown dorsum with fine round scattered tubercles; 8) thin traverse brownish-grey bars on the dorsal surface of tibia and lower arms; 9) longitudinal ridges under toes not interrupted at the articulations.

Keywords: Leptolalax laui sp. nov., morphology, mitochondrial DNA, taxonomy




Diagnosis: The new species is assigned to the subgenus Lalos of the genus Leptolalax based on the following characteristics: small size, rounded finger tips, presence of an elevated inner palmar tubercle not continuous to the thumb, presence of supra-axillary, pectoral, femoral and ventrolateral glands, absence of vomerine teeth, presence of tubercles on eyelids and vertical bars on anterior tip of snout (Delorme et al., 2006; Dubois, 1983; Lathrop et al., 1998). Leptolalax laui sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of 1) medium size (SVL 24.8 mm – 26.7 mm in adult males and 28.1 mm in single adult female), 2) near immaculate creamy-white chest and belly, 3) broad lateral fringes on toes, 4) head longer or as long as wide, 5) distant dark brown spots in flank, 6) moderate dermal fringes on fingers, 7) brown or reddish brown dorsum with fine round scattered tubercles, 8) thin traverse brownish grey bars on the dorsal surface of tibia and lower arms, 9) longitudinal ridges under toes not interrupted at the articulations.  

Etymology: This new species is named in honor of Dr. Michael Wai-Neng Lau from Hong Kong for his longterm herpetological research and conservation in Asia, particularly in South China. As a common name we suggest “Lau’s Leaf Litter Toad” (English name).

Ecology: The species can be found in streams in secondary forests between 100–800 m elevation. Advertisement calls of males of L. laui sp. nov. can be heard in streams from February to September in Hong Kong. Calling males were usually observed within two meters from streams.

Distribution and conservation status: Leptolalax laui sp. nov. is known to occur in a number of sites, including Tai Mo Shan, Tai Po Kau, Shing Mun, Ho Chung, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Sunset Peak, Lantau Peak, in Hong Kong, as well as Wutongshan National Forest Park, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province; yet the exact distribution of this species in China is unknown. With limited information on the distribution of this species, we recommend the species should be listed as Data Deficient in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Yikhei SUNG, Jianhuan YANG and Yingyong WANG. 2014. A New Species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from Southern China. Asian Herpetological Research. 5(2): 80–90

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