Environment Sri Lanka > Biodiversity

New Information of Sri Lanka's Biodiversity:
New Vertebrate, invertebrate and plant Species were discovered from the island Philautus stuarti, new frog species, male

Recently published "The Raffles Bulleting of Zoology" (June 2005), contains several research papers which presents details on the newly discovered species from Sri Lanka.
Rohan Pethiyagoda, of Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka writes "A total of 43 new species of vertebrates are described from the island (one mammal, five geckos, two agamid lizards and 35 frogs), together with a new genus and a new species of shrimps, 14 new species of freshwater crabs and five mosses new to the island. Two further field studies demonstrate that diversity and endemism among both land snails and caecilians are significantly higher than previously suspected. These discoveries are not altogether unexpected, and indeed, are long overdue."

However, assessments of the conservation status of the freshwater crabs and agaimid lizards shows that 37 of 51 and 11 of 17 species respectively, are threatened. The status of the Amphibia is arguably worse still: the recently-concluded Global Amphibian Assessment (Stuart et aI., 2004) showed that 42 of Sri Lanka's current total of 94 amphibian species are threatened, and a further 19 extinct (i.e., 56% of the world total of 34 confirmed amphibian-species extinctions in the past five centuries). Two freshwater fish species too, appear to have become extinct in the past two decades (Pethiyagoda, 1994).

All 30 nominal species assigned to the shrub-frog genus Philautus Gistel, 1848 (Anura: Ranidae: Rhacophorinae) in Sri Lanka are reviewed by Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda (2005), and their name-bearing types redescribed. Twenty-seven new species of Philautus endemic to Sri Lanka are described in this journal together with diagnoses and illustrations, and a key provided to all valid species in the island. As presently understood, the genus Philautus in Sri Lanka contains 57 nominal species, of which 52 are valid, four are junior subjective synonyms and one is incerte sedis.

Specific epithets of the Fifty seven Philautus species descibed in this paper are:

abundus
adspersus
alto,
asankai
auratus
caeruleus
cavirostris
cuspis
decoris
dimbullae
eximius
extirpo
femoralis
fergusoni
fergusonianus
folicola
fulvus
fimbriatus
halyi
hoipolloi
hypomelas
leucorhinus
limbus
lunatus
macropus
malcolmsmithi
microtympanum
nanus
nasutus
nemus
ocularis
oxyrhynchus
papillosus
pleurotaenia
poecilopleurus
popularis
procax
pulchellus
regius
reticulatus
rugatus
rus
sarasinorum
schmarda
semiruber
silus
silvaticus
simba
sordidus
stellatus
stictomerus
temporalis
variabilis
viridis
zal
zimmeri
zorro


The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2005 Supliment No. 12: Contributions to Biodiversity exploration and research in Sri Lanka. Editors- Darren C. J. Yeo, Peter K L Ng and Rohan Pethiyagoda. Publishedf by Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 434 pp.




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