Wednesday, March 1, 2023

[Herpetology • 2023] Raorchestes malipoensis • A New Species of Bush Frog (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from southeastern Yunnan, China

Raorchestes malipoensis 
 Huang, Liu, Du, Bernstein, Liu, Yang, Yu & Wu, 2023

In this study, based on morphological and molecular data, a new bush frog species is described from Yunnan, China. Eleven samples of Raorchestes malipoensis sp. nov. were collected from Malipo County, southeastern Yunnan. This species can be distinguished from other congeners by a combination of 13 morphological characters. Phylogenetic analyses based on the 16S rRNA gene indicate that these individuals form a monophyletic group, and genetic divergence between this clade and its closest relatives is higher than 3.1%, which is comparable to the divergence between recognized Raorchestes species. The discovery of this new species suggests that additional extensive surveys in the southeastern Yunnan would yield more amphibian lineages yet unknown to science.

Keywords: Kurixalus gryllus, Raorchestes gryllus, Raorchestes malipoensis sp. nov., taxonomy

Habitat at the type locality of Raorchestes malipoensis sp. nov., Malipo County, Yunnan Province, elevation 1496 m, China.

Holotype (GXNU 000339) of Raorchestes malipoensis sp. nov. in life.

 Raorchestes malipoensis sp. nov. 
Pseudophilautus gryllus” (Li et al. 2009).
Raorchestes gryllus” (Biju et al. 2010).
Diagnosis: The genus Raorchestes is a group of small frogs, diagnosed primarily on the basis of an adult snout-vent length between 15 and 45 mm; vomerine teeth absent; large gular pouch transparent while calling; nocturnally active; direct development without free-swimming tadpoles in all species for which the development is known (Biju et al. 2010). Although the mode of development in the new species remains unknown, R. malipoensis sp. nov. is placed in the genus Raorchestes due to the combination of following characters: small body size, vomerine teeth absent, single translucent external subgular vocal sac present, and tips of all fingers and toes expanded into discs with circum-marginal grooves. The new species is distinguished from geographically and molecularly relevant congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) very small body size (males SVL 14.6–17.7 mm, n = 7; females SVL 18.3–19.3 mm, n = 4); (2) head wider than long; (3) tympanum small, supratympanic fold distinct; (4) tips of all fingers and toes yellow; (5) webbing formula (I 2 – 2 II 2 – 2 III 2 – 3 IV 3 – 2 V); (6) inner and outer metacarpal tubercle indistinct; (7) heels not meeting when limbs held at right angles to body; (8) tibiotarsal articulation reaching anterior border of eye when hindlimb is stretched alongside of body; (9) iris golden brown; (10) nuptial pad small and milky white; (11) inner metatarsal tubercle rounded, outer metatarsal tubercle absent; (12) fingers and toes having lateral dermal fringe; and (13) interorbital distance larger than eye horizontal diameter.

Etymology: The specific epithet is named for the type locality, Malipo County, Yunnan Province, China.
 We suggest “Malipo Bush Frog” as its English common name, 
and “Ma Li Po Guan Shu Wa (麻栗坡灌树蛙)” as its Chinese common name.

Distribution: Currently known from the type locality, Malipo County (Fig. 1), Yunnan Province, China and Pac Ban, Tuyen Quang, in north of Vietnam.

 Junkai Huang, Xiao Long Liu, Lingyun Du, Justin M. Bernstein, Shuo Liu, Yun Yang, Guohua Yu and Zhengjun Wu. 2023. A New Species of Bush Frog (Anura, Rhacophoridae, Raorchestes) from southeastern Yunnan, China. ZooKeys. 1151: 47-65. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.1151.95616