Wednesday, June 1, 2022

[Herpetology • 2019] Liurana vallecula • A New Species of the Endemic Himalayan Genus Liurana (Anura: Ceratobatrachidae) from southeastern Tibet, China, with Comments on the Distribution, Reproductive Biology, and Conservation of the Genus

Liurana vallecula 
 Jiang, Wang, Wang, Li & Che, 2019

 Valley Papilla-tongued Frog | 河谷舌突蛙  ||  DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.025

A new species of the genus Liurana Dubois, 1986 is described from Medog County, Tibet, China, based on morphological and molecular data. The new species can be differentiated from all other congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) head wider than long; (2) tympanum distinct and large; (3) hindlimb long, tibiotarsal articulation beyond tip of snout when adpressed; (4) belly with flat tubercles, cloacal region with small tubercles; (5) transverse bands distinctly on dorsal limbs, four bands on thigh and three on tibia; and, (6) dark brown marbled patterns or speckles on white belly. Here, we also discuss the distribution pattern of Liurana in the East Himalaya region, the role of the Yarlung Tsangpo River in the speciation and genetic isolation of congeners, the direct developmental mode of reproduction, and the two different ecotypes of the genus. Lastly, we provide conservation recommendations for the genus in southeastern Tibet.

Keywords: Advertisement call; Biogeography; Ecology; Natural history; Tibet; Taxonomy

 Holotype of Liurana vallecula sp. nov. in life (adult female, KIZ014083)
 A: Dorsolateral view; B: Ventral view; C: Ventral close-up of hand; D: Ventral close-up of feet.
Photos by Yu-Fan Wang.

Liurana vallecula sp. nov.  

Diagnosis: Liurana vallecula sp. nov. is assigned to the genus Liurana by its phylogenetic position and the following morphological characters: (1) body size small (SVL 14.6–20.4 mm, n=2); (2) tips of fingers and toes not expanded, (3) grooves absent on tips of fingers and toes; (4) webbing absent on all digits; (5) metacarpal tubercles and metatarsal tubercles absent; (6) tarsal fold absent; and (7) vocal sac and vocal sac openings absent.

Ecological and natural history notes: Liurana vallecula sp. nov. is a terrestrial, leaf-litter specialist, inhabiting the forest floor of tropical broad-leaf forest at low elevations (below 1 000 m a.s.l.) near Yarlung Zangbo River and its immediate tributaries. The female holotype had about five immature eggs in the left ovary, which were well developed and relatively large.

 Distribution: Currently the new species is known only from the type localities of Xirang and Maniweng of Beibeng, Medog County, Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet, China. The new species likely inhabits other nearby regions in southern Tibet (see Discussion below).

 Etymology: The specific epithet of the new species, “vallecula” means “valley inhabitor”, in reference to the habitat of this species in the lower river valley of Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon. 
We suggest Valley Papilla-tongued Frog as its English common name 
and He Gu She Tu Wa (河谷舌突蛙) as its Chinese common name.

Ke Jiang, Kai Wang, Yu-Fan Wang, Cheng Li and Jing Che. 2019. A New Species of the Endemic Himalayan Genus Liurana (Anura, Ceratobatrachidae) from southeastern Tibet, China, with Comments on the Distribution, Reproductive Biology, and Conservation of the Genus. Zoological Research. 40(3); 175-184. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.025
New Tibertan Species of Genus Liurana (Anura, Ceratobatrachidae) Discovered