Leaping into the spotlight

Sylvirana malayana
Sylvirana malayanaPHOTOS: DAVE KIZIRIAN, BRYAN L. STUART, LEE GRISMER, CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Sylvirana roberti
Sylvirana roberti PHOTOS: DAVE KIZIRIAN, BRYAN L. STUART, LEE GRISMER, CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Sylvirana annamitica
Sylvirana annamitica PHOTOS: DAVE KIZIRIAN, BRYAN L. STUART, LEE GRISMER, CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Sylvirana montosa
Sylvirana montosaPHOTOS: DAVE KIZIRIAN, BRYAN L. STUART, LEE GRISMER, CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Sylvirana lacrima
Sylvirana lacrimaPHOTOS: DAVE KIZIRIAN, BRYAN L. STUART, LEE GRISMER, CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

They were hiding in plain sight. It took an understanding of genetics to help uncover five new species of South-east Asian frogs from a group of close to 400 museum specimens which researchers had long thought belonged to only two species. To make the discovery, scientists from Yale-NUS College and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences sequenced the DNA of frogs from collections around the world. Low De Wei showcases the five amphibians new to science.

Found in Malaysia and Thailand, near streams in primary forests. This is the only species among the five to possess a dark stripe extending from snout to groin, with strong demarcation between the dark (upper) and light (lower) parts of its flank.

Its head is narrower than others in this group.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Leaping into the spotlight'. Print Edition | Subscribe