Sunday, December 30, 2012

[Herpetology • 2005] Rhacophorus htunwini • A new species of Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Myanmar (Burma)

Htun Win’s treefrog | Rhacophorus htunwini 
Wilkinson, Thin Thin, Kyi Soe Lwin, and Awan Khwi Shein 2005

A new species of the genus  Rhacophorus is described from Myanmar. The new species is most similar to R. bipunctatus but differs in the male having a larger body size, a bright green dorsal coloration, yellow in the outer portion of the iris, fainter crossbands on the limbs, a more extensive dermal fringe along the arm, more extensive projection on the heel, more extensive webbing on the hand, and typically two large equal-sized black spots, one in the axillary region and one on the middle of the flank.

Ten species of Rhacophorus are thought to occur in Myanmar (R. appendiculatus (Günther), R. bipunctatus Ahl,  R. bisacculus Taylor,  R. dennysi Blanford,  R.  feae Boulenger,  R. maximus Günther,  R. reinwardtii (Schlegel),  R. taronensis Smith,  R. turpes Smith, and  R. verrucosus Boulenger). Here, we report on an additional species of Rhacophorus collected during expeditions in 2001 and 2002 to Rakhine State in western Myanmar near the Bay of Bengal and to Kachin State in northeastern Myanmar near the Chinese border.

Etymology: The name htunwini is given in honor of the late U Htun Win, who devoted the last eight years of his life to the pursuit of knowledge of the diversity and natural history of the reptiles and amphibians within his country. As team leader of the Myanmar Herpetological Survey Team, he first recognized this frog as potentially new to science.

Distribution and Natural History: At present Rhacophorus htunwini  is known from Nagmung and Machanbaw Townships, Putao District, Kachin State, and from much further south in Rahkine State in the southwestern foothills of Rakhine Yoma, Gwa Township, and Kyauktaw Township, Sittawe District (Fig. 4). This distributional pattern indicates that this species may be restricted to the Indo-Burman Mountain Range that arcs from southwestern Myanmar along the border with India, and the Eastern Himalayas in northern Myanmar. The absence of specimens from the Chin Hills of western Myanmar is probably due solely to a lack of surveys in the region.

The type specimens including the holotype (CAS 229913, USNM 561869) were found approximately 2 m off the ground in bamboo. Referred specimens were found in undisturbed habitat near a spring (CAS 222136) or seasonal (CAS 221351) and permanent (CAS 222065) streams. Other species of Polypedates and Rhacophorus found in the vicinity of the type locality were P. leucomystax, R. bipunctatus, and R. dennysi.

Wilkinson, Jeffery A.; Thin, Thin; Lwin Kyi Soe & Shein, Awan Khwi. 2005. A new species of Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Myanmar (Burma). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. 56(4): 42–52.