Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two New Frogs of the Genus Megophrys (Megophryidae)

Museum collections are like libraries, instead of books, they house specimens collected at different points in time and space. They are also excellent places to hunt for undescribed species. Collectors and curators will often take problematic specimens and stick them in a bottle of specimens that they might be related to or place them in a separate bottle with an "sp." In either case, species undescribed to science - but collected- may go undescribed for centuries. Such was the case for Megophrys damrei from Cambodia's Elephant Mountains and Megophrys takensis from northwest Thailand. Both are members of the Megophrys parva species complex and both where represented by specimens in the Natural History Museum (NHM - formerly the British Museum of Natural History). Both species have now been described by Stephan Mahony (2011) but both were represented in the collections made by Malcolm Smith about 100 years ago.

The family Megophryidae is mostly a Chinese radiation of frogs with 61 of the known species occurring in that country. However, many of these frogs are poorly known and based upon inadequate descriptions The  Megophrys parva species complex is one of these. It is known to range from Nepal to Vietnam

Mahony, S. 2011. Two new species of Megophrys Kuhl & van Hasselt (Amphibia: Megophryidae), from western Thailand and southern Cambodia. Zootaxa 2734: 23–39.

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