Changing Planet

Frog With Green Blood, Turquoise Bones Found in Cambodia

Green-blooded-frog.jpg

Photo by J. Holden FFI

A frog with green blood and turquoise bones has been discovered in Cambodia’s remote Cardamom Mountains, international conservation organization Fauna & Flora International (FFI) announced today.

The Samkos bush frog (Chiromantis samkosensis) is thought to be extremely rare, the UK-based charity said in a news statement. “Its strange colored bones and blood are caused by the pigment biliverdin, a waste product usually processed in the liver.

“In this species, the biliverdin is passed back into the blood giving it a green color; a phenomenon also seen in some lizards. The green biliverdin is visible through the frog’s thin, translucent skin, making it even better camouflaged and possibly even causing it to taste unpalatable to predators.”

The frog was first seen in 2000 but officially identified as a new species only last year. An FFI expedition in 2008 to look for more Samkos bush frogs could find only one individual, which was perched on a reed above the road where its breeding pond used to be.

 

“It appears the species is highly localized, breeding in temporary rain pools in evergreen forest at around 500 metres above sea level. Nothing else is known about its ecology,” the FFI statement says.

 

Fauna & Flora International consultant naturalist and photographer Jeremy Holden, who discovered the Samkos bush frog, said: ‘When I found the frog, I had a thrilling suspicion that we were looking at an entirely new species of amphibian. Photographing these frogs has been a challenge. They were extremely difficult to find, but thanks to their distinctive calls we managed to get some excellent shots and record them for posterity.”

 

The new frog is one of four “new-to-science” frog species discovered by FFI in Cambodia. Cambodia’s national list of amphibians now stands at 63 species.

 

 “A Field Guide to the Amphibians of Cambodia”, authored by Jeremy Holden, was published by FFI in October.

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media