Luzon Bleeding-Heart (Gallicolumba luzonica)
is a species of ground dove native to the islands of Luzon and Polillo in the Philippines. They get the name bleeding heart due to a unusual splash of blood red feathers on the center of the birds chest making it look like the bird has received a wound and is bleeding out, this illusion is enhanced due to a reddish hue of feathers on the bird’s front which almost look blood soaked. This species behaves in a similar fashion to other ground pigeons in that it eats mostly eats seeds, berries and grubs and is very secretive almost never leaving the forest floor.
The new species, named Rhinella yunga, belongs to Bufonidae – a large toad family composed of more than 30 genera.
These toads have a warty, robust body and a pair of large poison parotoid glands on the back of their heads.
The poison is excreted by the toads when stressed as a protective mechanism. Some toads are more toxic than others.
Males also possess a special organ, which after removing of testes becomes an active ovary and the toad, in effect, becomes female.
Like many other Bufonidae toads, Rhinella yunga has a cryptic body coloration resembling the decaying leaves in the forest floor, which is in combination with expanded cranial crests and bony protrusions cleverly securing perfect camouflage.
The different colors and shapes within the same species group however make the traditional morphological methods of taxonomic research hard to use to identify the real species diversity within the family.
Nevertheless, Rhinela yunga is distinct from all related species in absence of a tympanic membrane, a round membranous part of hearing organ being normally visible on both sides of a toad’s head.
“It appears that large number of still unnamed cryptic species remains hidden under some nominal species of the Rhinella margaritifera species group,” said Dr Jiří Moravec of the National Museum Prague, Czech Republic, who is the lead author of the paper published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
I CAN SEE YOUR DINGLY-DANGLY-DIDDLY-DING-DONG.
megachile/ leafcutter bee commission!
You hear that? That is the sound of my heart breaking.