‘Flat’-headed creature — with multicolored eyes — discovered as new species in China

High up in the mountains of southern China, a “flat”-headed creature sat on the bank of a stream. Its multicolored eyes watched the fast-flowing water pass.

But something — or rather someone — was watching it.

Scientists ventured into the mountains of Yunnan Province, a biodiversity hotspot, to survey wildlife in 2021 and 2022, according to a study published April 4 in the peer-reviewed journal Vertebrate Zoology.

During their surveys, researchers found several unfamiliar-looking frogs, the study said. They captured three of these animals and, taking a closer look, realized they’d discovered a new species: Amolops yangi, or Yang’s torrent frog.

Yang’s torrent frog is considered “medium”-size, measuring about 2 inches in length, the study said. It has a “flat” head, “short” snout and “smooth” texture. Its “large” eyes are multicolored, part “golden-yellow” and part “reddish brown.”

An Amolops yangi, or Yang’s torrent frog.
An Amolops yangi, or Yang’s torrent frog.

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Photos show the lime green coloring of a Yang’s torrent frog. Black bands criss-cross its limbs and greenish-yellow spots dots its back.

Yang’s torrent frogs were found on “the banks of rocky, fast-flowing streams” or perched on nearby plants, the study said. The new species lives in the mountains between elevations of 8,200 and 11,500 feet.

An Amolops yangi, or Yang’s torrent frog, seen from above.
An Amolops yangi, or Yang’s torrent frog, seen from above.

Researchers said they named the new species after Da-Tong Yang because of “his great contributions to the herpetological research in southwestern China.”

So far, Yang’s torrent frogs have only been spotted at two sites in the Gaoligong Mountains in Yunnan Province, the study said. This province is in southern China and borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

The new species was identified by its size, body shape, eyes, teeth, coloring and DNA, the study said.

The research team included Yun-He Wu, Zhong-Bin Yu, Chen-Qi Lu, Yin-Peng Zhang, Wen-Jie Dong, Xiao-Long Liu, Felista Kasyoka Kilunda, Yun Xiong, Yun-Fang Jiang, Hong Ouyang, Zhong-Xiong Fu, Yun-Biao He, Zhi-Yong Yuan and Jing Che.

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