While hiking a lowland forest in 2009, not far from Ho Chi Minh City (map), Vietnam, “we came across a huge green frog, sitting on a log,” said Jodi Rowley, an amphibian biologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney and lead author of a new study on the frog.
Rowley later discovered that the 3.5-inch-long (9-centimeter-long) creature is a relatively large new type of flying frog, a group known for its ability to “parachute” from tree to tree thanks to special aerodynamic adaptations, such as webbed feet, Rowley said. (Also see “‘Vampire Flying Frog’ Found; Tadpoles Have Black Fangs.”)
Rowley dubbed the new species Helen’s flying frog, in honor of her mother, Helen Rowley, “who has steadfastly supported her only child trekking through the forests of Southeast Asia in search of frogs,” according to a statement.
The newfound speciesâ€”there are 80 types of flying frogsâ€”is also “one of the most flying frogs of the flying frogs,” Rowley said, “in that it’s got huge hands and feet that are webbed all the way to the toepad.”
“Females even have flappy skin on their forearms to glide,” added Rowley, who has received funding from the National Geographic Committee on Research and Exploration. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.) “The females are larger and heavier than males, so the little extra flaps probably don’t make much of a difference,” she said.