Thursday, March 14, 2013
Eight new frogs described from Sri Lanka, seven are considered threatened
The high altitudes, heavy rainfall, and steep topography make fiewld work difficult. In a just published article Wickramasinghe et al. (2013) describe eight new species of rhacophorid frogs in the genus Pseudophilautus (Pseudophilautus bambaradeniyai, P. dayawansai, P. jagathgunawardanai, P. karunarathnai, P. newtonjayawardanei, P. puranappu, P. samarakoon, and P. sirilwijesundarai). They were discovered as a result of a survey to study the herpetofaunal diversity. The conservation status of all species described here, have been considered Critically Endangered, except for P. newtonjayawardanei.
All the new species are recorded from single locations, and their habitats are under severe threat. Human activity in the area is considerable, despite the difficult terrain. The highest point of this mountain range is a place of worship for all religions in the country and a place of aesthetic beauty. Millions visit the site every year during the pilgrim season which lasts for a period of six months. Large amount of garbage gets collected, and the primary forest is over exploited. Illegal gem mining occurs on both sides of the river bank. Tea cultivation in the surrounding area is slowly expanding; and Illegal tree felling to cultivate tea, has become a serious problem.
Wickramasinghe, L.J.M., D.R. Vidanapathirana, M.D.G. Rajeev, S.C. Ariyarathne, A.W.A. Chanaka, L.L.D. Priyantha, I.N. Bandara & N. Wickramasinghe (2013). Eight new species of Pseudophilautus (Amphibia, Anura, Rhacophoridae) from Sripada World Heritage Site (Peak Wilderness), a local amphibian hotspot in Sri Lanka. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(4): 3789–3920; doi:10.11609/JoTT.o3099.3789-920