Big-Headed Fanged Frog Discovered

A new species of dicroglossid frog in the genus Limnonectes has been described from three forested locations in eastern Thailand by D. S. McLeod of the University of Kansas

An analysis of DNA sequence data from 2518 base-pairs of the mitochondrial 12S and 16S gene regions places the species within the complex of frogs currently referred to as Limnonectes kuhlii and demonstrates it to be a separate lineage (>18% sequence divergence from type-material of L. kuhlii from Java). The new species, L. megastomais differs from L. kuhlii by having nuptial pads, a greater snout–vent length, and different relative finger lengths than specimens from Java. It has more extensive toe webbing, a different arrangement of nuptial pads, and a greater snout–vent length than Limnonectes laticeps. The new species, lacks vocal slits and has well developed odontoid process (these are fang-like structures in the lower jaw). The type material was collected from a spring-fed pool at the head of an intermittent stream in deciduous evergreen forest at Sakaerat Environmental Research Station, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. Adult males reach a body length of 124 mm, adult females are smaller, reaching 86 mm. The species appears to be a sit and wait predator that feeds on insects, other frogs, and birds. The author writes, “The most striking characteristics of the males of this species are their exceptionally large mouths and powerful jaws. It would not be inappropriate to describe this frog as an enormous mouth with a body attached to it.” The full reference for this paper is:
McLeod, D. S. 2008. A new species of big-headed, fanged dicroglossine frog (Genus Limnonectes) from Thailand. Zootaxa 1807: 26–46.

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