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Notes on Xenobatrachus and Xenorhina (Amphibia: Microhylidae) from New Guinea with description of nine new species

Article published in volume 7 fascicle 4, of 12/1988, pages 125 - 163



Assembly of a large collection of Xenobatrachus and Xenorhina species by the authors in east and west New Guinea (Irian Jaya, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea) made possible some comments on the ecology and systematics of these frogs. A combination of call data and morphometrics revealed that the species known hitherto as Xenobatrachus rostratus is a complex of at least six species which may or may not be closely related. Five of these are described as new. Examination of gut content of 40 examples of 13 species suggested that these frogs are specialized earthworm eaters, possibly the ecological equivalent of Gymnophiona which do not occur in New Guinea. We comment on the possible function of the vomero-palatine spikes characteristic of Xenobatrachus and describe the peculiar structure of the tongue. Two species (Xenobatrachus rostratus and Xenorhina minima) are defined and nine new ones described, distribution is indicated and ecological data provided werever possible. The relationship of Xenobatrachus to Xenorhina is discussed and we conclude that it is not yet possible to combine the two genera under the senior name, Xenorhina. We suggest that further evidence, not yet to hand, may strengthen reasons for combination. Both genera contain a range of morphotypes from short-legged, small-eyed species known to live underground to longer-legged, larger-eyed species believed to be terrestrial. A key for identification of all species in the two genera is provided.