MANILA, Philippines – Two new species of frogs were recently discovered by a team of scientists who have been conducting a biodiversity resource assessment in the forests of Southern Leyte.
Authorities said the two forest-obligate species of frogs, which belong to the genus Platymantis, inhabit the mossy forests of the Nacolod Mountain Range in Southern Leyte.
The new species show different body sizes, coloration patterns, and advertisement calls compared to other known species of Philippine Platymantis frogs.
The two species are allied to two different species groups, the Platymantis guentheri group and Platymantis hazelae group.
The scientists said the discovery marks the first time that frogs from the hazelea group were found in Mindanao.
The new species were unveiled at the Marble Hall of the Museum of the Filipino People on Tuesday.
Guests who attended the event include Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje; deputy head of Mission Federal Republic of Germany Embassy Ralph Timmermann; principal advisor of the International Climate Change projects in the Philippines of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Dr. Bernd-Markus Liss; and director of the National Museum of the Philippines Jeremy Barns.
The moth-long biodiversity resource assessment conducted by the team of experts in the municipalities of Silago, Hinunangan, Sogod, Maasin, Tomas Oppus and Malitbog also yielded 229 flora species, 31 of which are unique to the country.
The team also recorded a total of 212 terrestrial vertebrates species, comprising 112 species of birds (41 species are unique to Philippines; 11 of which are threatened to extinction), 36 species of mammals (17 species are unique to the Philippines) and 64 species of amphibians and reptiles (more than half of which are found only in the Philippines)
The findings benefited the local government in its efforts to protect forest ecosystems and establish local forest and biodiversity areas.
It will also spur forest protection and rehabilitation efforts under the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy as part of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAPP), and the National Greening Program.
The ground surveys were conducted by a team composed of members from Fauna & FIora International, the National Museum of the Philippines, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and DENR Region 8 on behalf of two projects, namely the Climate relevant modernization of forest policy and Piloting of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in the Philippines Project by DENR-Forest Management Bureau and the German Development Cooperation – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and the New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (NewCAPP) of the DENR-PAWB, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).