Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vampire Flying Frog

The mountain jungles of Vietnam are home to a new breed of "vampire" a "flying" tree frog called Rhacophorus vampyrus.

First found in 2008, the 2-inch-long (5-centimeter-long) amphibian is recognized to live only in southern Vietnamese cloud forests, where it uses webbed fingers and toes to glide from tree to tree.

Adults deposit their eggs in water pools in tree trunks, which protect their progeny from predator’s prowl in rivers and ponds.

"It has totally no cause to ever go down on the ground," said study leader Jodi Rowley, an amphibian biologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

However, that deception isn't what made the species its parasitical name. Rather, it's the strange curved "fangs" displayed by its tadpoles, which the scientists discovered in 2010.

"When I first saw them by looking through a microscope, I said, 'Oh my God, wow,'" said Rowley, whose research is funded in part by the National Geographic Society's Conservation Trust.