September 28, 2009--
A fanged frog, seen above in Thailand
in 2008, is one of 163 new animal and plant species discovered last year in the jungles of Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong region, according to a report issued this week by the international conservation nonprofit WWF
(video of the fanged frog and other new species found in the Mekong area
Known to scientists as Limnonectes megastomias,
the Khorat big-mouth frog is an ambush predator prone to pouncing on insects, other frogs, and even birds--as evidenced by its feather-laden feces.
Male frogs also use their fangs (which are actually jawbone growths) for one-on-one combat. Many males sport serious scars or even missing limbs thought to be related to their violent encounters.
The Greater Mekong region includes the lands drained by the Mekong River in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, and China. The area is among the most biologically diverse and important in Asia, according to WWF.
Photograph by David S. McLeod, courtesy WWF