This Borneo horned frog was among thousands of species recorded during a recent biodiversity survey of Mount Kinabalu in northern Borneo.
While this frog isn't new to science, some 160 species discovered during the two-week expedition to the Southeast Asian island in September are, according to a team of Dutch and Malaysian biologists.
Novelties include previously undescribed species of spiders, beetles, snails, damselflies, termites, and flies.
"Mount Kinabalu carries quite a high proportion of species that are found nowhere else on earth," said expedition leader Menno Schilthuizen, of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.
"Our aim was to find out more about how these endemic species have evolved," he said.
Researchers scoured the wildlife-rich forests of Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu (pictured) for previously unrecorded animals, plants, and fungi. Split among Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, Borneo is the world's third largest island.
The study team hopes to shed light on evolutionary relationships between isolated and endemic mountain species and their more widespread lowland counterparts.
Previously it had been thought that lowland species slowly migrate up the mountain before adapting to colder, more extreme living conditions, Schilthuizen said.
But in many cases, it seems, species take the opposite route.
"Some of the species that live on top of the mountain are actually ancestral—they are older than their relatives in the lowlands," Schilthuizen said.
"They aren't newly evolved species but rather relics."
Insects encountered on Mount Kinabalu include this giant Atlas moth. Considered the largest moth in the world, its wingspan of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) reaches birdlike proportions.
DNA analysis of specimens collected by the expedition team will be used to construct detailed evolutionary trees, which will be compared with those of lowland species.
"From the branching order of these populations, we can tell which is older and which is younger, and that should tell us whether Mount Kinabalu was more like a cradle of evolution or a museum of evolution," Schilthuizen said.
A fearsome-looking jumping spider stares down the lens of the team that captured it in Kinabalu Park in September.
The undescribed species has unusually long fangs, said expedition leader Schilthuizen. "Normally they are used for hunting, but in some cases they are also used in courtship and mating, so it's hard to say what their purpose is in this species," he said.
Between 10 and 15 new species of jumping spiders were discovered on the trip, Schilthuizen added.
Sprouting from the forest floor, this small red toadstool was among hundreds of fungi species recorded during the recent expedition.
Fungus forays also took place at night, when finds included brightly glowing mushrooms.
The mushrooms are thought to emit bioluminescent light to attract bugs, which then disperse the fungi's spores in the forest. (See pictures of glowing mushrooms.)
Photograph courtesy Luis Morgado
Creepy-crawlies like this giant millipede featured prominently in the haul of more than 1,400 animal, plant, and fungi species.
While this critter isn't new to science, the survey team estimates that it uncovered up to 60 previously unknown invertebrate species in total.
Highlights included stalk-eyed flies, whose eyes sit on stems as long as their bodies. "It makes them look either ludicrous or fascinating, depending on how you feel about insects," Schilthuizen said. (Learn more about bugs.)
Photograph courtesy Joris van Alphen
Dutch botanist Frederic Lens collects plant samples as part of last month's biodiversity survey in Malaysia's Kinabalu Park.
The team found at least one suspected new species of begonia. Better known for houseplants, this colorful plant type includes many species that flourish in the gloomy forests of Mount Kinabalu.