Earless African pygmy toad discovered on remote mountain in Angola

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta Amphibians, Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Frogs, Green, Herps, New Species, Research, Species Discovery, Wildlife Researchers have found a new species of African pygmy toad in Serra da Neve Inselberg, an isolated mountain and Angola’s second-highest peak.The new species, formally named Poyntonophrynus pachnodes, or the Serra da Neve pygmy toad, lacks both external and internal parts of the ear that help frogs hear.While earless toads aren’t rare, this is the first time a Poyntonophrynus species has been reported without ears. In 2016, a group of researchers set out to explore Serra da Neve Inselberg, an isolated mountain and Angola’s second-highest peak, in search of frogs and toads. Now, they have described a new and unusual species of African pygmy toad that they chanced upon during their expedition.The new species, formally named Poyntonophrynus pachnodes, or the Serra da Neve pygmy toad, has a distinct trait that sets it apart from its close relatives: it lacks both external and internal parts of the ear that help frogs hear, researchers report in a new study published in ZooKeys.The study’s lead author, Luis Miguel Pires Ceríaco, a herpetologist at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, U.S., said his team spotted the Serra da Neve pygmy toad on their very first night on the remote mountain. The toads were roaming around their camp, and could be seen amid leaf litter and under rocks.“But we only noticed that the toad was different in the laboratory, under the microscope,” Ceríaco told Mongabay in an email. “Toads, especially small species like this, have a very common toad-like appearance. In the field we are usually very busy collecting, fixing and taking notes, so many times smaller details are overlooked. Even in cases like these, where an entire structure was missing!”While earless toads aren’t rare, this is the first time a Poyntonophrynus species has been reported without ears.“This loss of ear happened several times in frogs, especially in toads of the family Bufonidae, to which the Poyntonophrynus belongs,” Ceríaco said. “Some lineages loose it and then regain it. This is a quite interesting fact, but we still don’t know why it happens. It is a topic of many debates and investigation in the recent years. What we know is that all known members of this genus have [ears] and this one doesn’t.”This is Serra da Neve Inselberg in southwestern Angola, the second-highest peak in Angola. Image by Luis Miguel Pires Ceríaco.Unlike most other frogs and toads that prefer moist forests, most African pygmy toads live in dry, arid regions of Angola and Namibia in southwestern Africa. The Serra da Neve pygmy toad, currently known only from the arid mountain of the same name, fits the bill.“Arid areas are not known to harbor that many amphibians,” Ceríaco said. “Poyntonophrynus species almost behave more like lizards than amphibians. The description of this new species just confirms this odd pattern.”The newly described species could possibly occur around the Serra da Neve area, Ceríaco said. But further surveys would be needed to confirm that. “So little is known about Angolan herpetofauna that we barely scratched the surface of its diversity and distribution,” he said.“The description of a new species is always a reminder of how much we still need to work here,” Ceríaco added. “Many other species, mostly endemic, are currently in the process of being formally described, and it is expected that the number of species for the country will sharply rise in the next few years. With all this, we are experiencing a rebirth on Angolan herpetology, which was delayed by the almost 40 years of civil war.”This study was part of a bigger project looking into the diversity and distribution of Angolan herpetofauna, involving several international organizations and the Angolan Ministry of Environment.The new earless species of African pygmy toad from Serra da Neve Inselberg, Poyntonophrynus pachnodes. Image by Ishan Agarwal.Citation:Luis M. P. Ceríaco, Mariana P. Marques, Suzana Bandeira, Ishan Agarwal, Edward L. Stanley, Aaron M. Bauer, Mathew P. Heinicke, David C. Blackburn. A new earless species of Poyntonophrynus (Anura, Bufonidae) from the Serra da Neve Inselberg, Namibe Province, Angola. ZooKeys, 2018; 780: 109 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.780.25859center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Unusual lizard lays eggs, then births a live baby — in the same pregnancy

first_imgAnimal Behavior, Animals, Biodiversity, Environment, Evolution, Herps, Lizards, Reptiles, Research, Wildlife In a lab at the University of Sydney, a female yellow-bellied three-toad skink first laid eggs, then gave birth to a live baby, all part of the same pregnancy.This is the first time biologists have observed both egg-laying and live-bearing in a single litter of a vertebrate animal, researchers say in a new study.While the three-toed skink is known to have a dual mode of reproduction — some populations lay eggs, while others give birth to live babies — what mode the skink follows seems to be influenced by genetics and not environmental conditions, previous research has found.But the latest study suggests that individuals may be able to “switch” between reproductive modes depending on the situation, researchers say. The yellow-bellied three-toed skink is not your typical lizard. Vertebrates or animals with backbones usually reproduce in one of two ways: they either lay eggs or they give birth to a live young baby. But the three-toed skink (Saiphos equalis) does both, its mode of reproduction varying with geography. In the warmer, coastal areas around Sydney, populations of the skink are known to lay eggs, while those living in the colder mountains of New South Wales give birth to live young. What mode of reproduction it follows, however, doesn’t seem to be influenced by environmental conditions, previous research has found, because swapping populations doesn’t appear to change how it reproduces, suggesting genetics may be at play.But a female three-toed skink in a lab at the University of Sydney threw up a surprise. The skink, originally collected from a high-elevation population that’s known to give birth to live young, first laid eggs, then weeks later, birthed a live baby — all part of the same pregnancy. One of the incubated eggs hatched into a healthy baby.This is the first time biologists have observed both egg-laying and live-bearing in a single litter of a vertebrate animal, researchers report in a new study published in Biology Letters.“It is a very unusual discovery,” Camilla Whittington, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “We were studying the genetics of these skinks when we noticed one of the live-bearing females lay three eggs. Several weeks later she gave birth to another baby. Seeing that baby was a very exciting moment!”The yellow-bellied three-toed skink has a dual mode of reproduction. Image by Nadav Pezaro/University of Sydney.What this suggests, the researchers say, is that individuals may be able to “switch” between reproductive modes depending on the situation. But why this happens is unclear.The researchers speculate that the skinks’ ability to change how they reproduce could be advantageous in “changing or uncertain environments.” In extreme cold or dry conditions, for example, it might make more sense for a skink to carry her offspring to term, the researchers say. At the same time, long pregnancies can take a huge toll on the mother, so laying eggs may be the smarter thing to do in some situations.Only a handful of backboned species are known to have such dual modes of reproduction. The Bougainville’s skink (Lerista bougainvillii) is one, laying eggs on the Australian mainland but giving birth to live young in Tasmania and the islands of the Bass Strait. Examining such species could reveal more about the evolution of reproduction in vertebrates, the researchers say.“We suggest that other species in which live birth has evolved from egg-laying relatively recently may also use flexible reproductive tactics,” Whittington and Melanie Laird, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand, wrote in The Conversation. “Further research into this small Australian lizard [three-toed skink], which seems to occupy the grey area between live birth and egg-laying, will help us determine how and why species make major reproductive leaps.”A three-toed skink was found to lay eggs, then give birth to a live baby. Image by Nadav Pezaro/University of Sydney.Citation:Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B. and Whittington, C. M (2019) Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis). Biology Letters, 15 (4): 20180827. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0827 Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more