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The Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala) is a newly named species of monkey that has recently been discovered in the Arunachal Pradesh region of India. This is a significant finding, as it represents the first new monkey species to be discovered in over a century. The newly described macaque species is stocky in build and has a darker face than other closely related species. The Arunachal macaque inhabits the highest elevations of all macaques and occurs between 1600 and 3500 meters above sea level.

One of many 'newly rediscovered' or 'new-to-science' animals, you'll be reading about in Secret Species.

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{ else }   Blog: New species of Papua New Guinea frog changes colour  

All change for the Papua New Guinea frog (left: a young frog and right: an older member of the same species)

A new species of frog undergoes a remarkable transformation as it grows into an adult, report scientists.

Shiny black juvenile frogs with yellow spots dramatically change into peach coloured adults with bright blue eyes.

Scientists discovered the unique frog in a remote part of south-eastern Papua New Guinea.

The bright pattern of the young frog could act as a warning to predators, they say, but it is a mystery why the adult then loses this colour.

The scientists from Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, US, report their findings in the journal Copeia.

"The obviously unusual biology of this frog made its discovery especially exciting" Dr Fred Kraus Bishop Museum, Hawaii, US

Amphibian species come in a range of colours and patterns, from the brightly patterned poison dart frogs to the plainer greens of the common toad.

After metamorphosising from a tadpole, some frogs change in colour as they get older.

However, it is unknown for juveniles and adults of a species to have strikingly different colour and pattern schemes.

The research team came across the new species of frog Oreophryne ezra while on a expedition to find new species on Sudest Island, Louisiade Archipelago, off the south-eastern tip of New Guinea.

Of the new species they found, the frog particularly caught their attention.

"It's always exciting to discover a species you know to be new. However, the obviously unusual biology of this frog made its discovery especially exciting," says Dr Fred Kraus who along with Dr Allen Allison undertook the study.

"The remarkable thing about this frog is the drastic nature of its change in colour pattern as it matures from a tiny froglet into adulthood," Dr Kraus says.

As a juvenile the frog is dark black with yellow spots and black eyes but then switches to a uniform peach colour with blues eyes.

"This raises the question of what possible function the striking colours of the juveniles might serve," says Dr Kraus.

Juveniles closely resemble the general appearance of some of the poison dart frogs from the tropics.

Like these frogs, the colouration could serve as a warning to potential predators.

Although untested, the frog may also have harmful toxins in its skin like those present in poison dart frogs.

Poison dart frogs have skin that contains harmful alkaloids acting as a chemical defence against predation.

"If this is the case this would make this species another instance of the independent evolution of such a system," says Dr Kraus.

"No other such instance is known in frogs" Dr Fred Kraus Bishop Museum, Hawaii, US

The behaviour of the frog also points to the idea that its colour advertises that it is toxic.

The researchers write how the juvenile frogs perch in conspicuous places during daylight hours and also demonstrated a lack of a well developed escape behaviour, indicating that they have another form of defence.

One aspect that cannot be explained is if the colour offers protection to the juvenile, why does the frog then change its colour scheme as it ages to one that offers no protection.

For now this poses further questions for the researchers.

"No other such instance is known in frogs," Dr Kraus says.

"If it does serve as protective warning colouration, the reason for its loss remains a mystery."



Posted: Jan 31, 2010 2:25am | (0) | (0) |  
{ else }   Blog: Komodo Dragon - in your face!  
Another fond (maybe not the right word) memory from my past filming expeditions!

A prey's eye view of an attacking Komodo Dragon. This huge male chased our cameraman along a beach on Komodo Island. He had laced the hood of the camera lens with a chicken carcass, so I guess it was his own fault. Camera was dropped in the sand while the crew ran like hell. The dragon then proceeded to leisurely fit the entire lens of the camera into its mouth. Irresponsible? On hindsight, perhaps - although the ranger had assured us that the dragon had just fed a couple of days before (dragons only feed once every week), and so would be sleeping off the meal - or else we would never have tried this, believe me. The ranger later assured us that the dragon was merely being curious... was never quite convinced by that.

Both cameraman, camera and dragon were unharmed during the making of this film. Although cameraman still has nightmares, and knows not try any funny business with raw meat around predators in the future - although an Asiatic Lion did mistake him for a buffalo once - but that's another story.

(WARNING: Please do not try this at home kids)
Posted: Dec 16, 2005 10:17am | (2) | (0) |  
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