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Wed, May 23, 2007 : Last updated 21:58 pm (Thai local time)

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Home > National > Researchers find new frog species

Researchers find new frog species

A new species of frog has been discovered by researchers during a study of a biodiversity hotspot in Phetchabun and Phitsanulok.

Tanya Chan-ard, the curator at the National Science Museum, told a conference yesterday the discovery of "kob cha-ngonpha phu luang" (odorrana aureola - Stuart, Chuaynkern, Chan-ard and Inger, 2006) was confirmed by US-based experts and a DNA test.

Ranging in size from 60mm to 80mm, the frogs had green coloration but sometimes could be yellowish brown with mesh-like black dots along the side of the body and expanded round finger tips, Tanya told a Bangkok conference on bio-diversity and climate change.

The conference was organised by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning to mark Biological Diversity Day.

Tanya said the frogs could only be found in areas above 1,000 metres from sea level in the Phu Luang wildlife sanctuary, located in forestland bordering Loei, Phetchabun and Phitsanulok.

Since there were far fewer female frogs - which are generally about 10mm bigger than the males - the new species could be at risk of extinction, especially from pollution if chemicals are used at high altitudes, Tanya said.

He said the area where the frog was found had many other factors which could cause its extinction, such as uncontrolled forest fires, deforestation, and being hunted for food.

Kasetsart University Forest Biology lecturer Dokrak Marod, who heads the biodiversity hot-spot project in Phetchabun and Phitsanulok, told the conference the study covered 16 conservation areas that were used for agriculture and subjected to heavy chemical use as well as tourism, especially Phetchabun's Khao Kho - known as Thailand's Switzerland.

He said the biodiversity surveys so far had discovered 45 new types of mammals, 177 birds, 39 amphibians, 14 fish and 45 reptiles, and a new species of bat (Murina sp.), tree frog (Philautus sp.) and four fish in the Schitura, Devario, Homaloptera and Balitora families.

Meanwhile, Pitipong Pueng-boon na Ayutthaya, permanent secretary of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, said it had been confirmed that if the world's temperature rose by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, the earth's biodiversity would be greatly affected.

Janjira Pongrai


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