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Vietnamese expert discovered a new species of tiny frog

( A new species of the genus Vietnamophryne is described from Vu Quang National Park in North Vietnam based on molecular phylogenetic and morphological analyses. The new species is morphologically distinct from congeners and can be easily distinguished from all other members of the genus Vietnamophryne by

(1) body size males (n=4) 14.12-14.91 mm; females (n=9) 15.15-17.33 mm;

(2) dorsal skin shagreened with small flat pustules loosely scattered on back in males, mostly smooth, slightly shagreened posteriorly, lacking enlarged tubercles in females;

(3) belly color ivory-lemon to lemon-yellow with weak dark-brown marbling in males, bright lemon-yellow with weak dark-brown marbling in females;

(4) tympanum relatively faint, comparatively small, rounded, 5.4-6.0% of SVL in males, 4.8-6.2% of SVL in females;

(5) ratio snout length to eye length 119-128% in males, 100-130 % in females;

(6) ratio head width to head length 117-124% in males, 110-131% in females;

and (7) ratio first finger to second finger 43-49% in males, 44-50% in females.

In the phylogenetic analysis, the new species revealed to be sister to V. inexpectata, with 4.3-4.6% divergence in the 16SrRNA gene. So far, the new species is only known from the evergreen tropical forests of Vu Quang National Park at an elevation of 966 m a.s.l. This is the third species of Vietnamophryne reported from Vietnam. The new species, named Vietnamophryne vuquangensis, was named after the Vu Quang National Park, where the species was found.

Field surveys were conducted in Vu Quang NP, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam on 12 October 2019 by T. T. Nguyen, Q. H. Nguyen and N. Orlov. Tissues for genetic analyses were taken from the liver prior to the preservation and stored in 95% ethanol. Specimens were subsequently deposited in the Vietnam National Museum of Nature (VNMN) Hanoi, Vietnam.

According to

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