Home Tech Gadgets Scientists Discover 7 New Miniature Night Frog Species In The Western Ghats

Scientists Discover 7 New Miniature Night Frog Species In The Western Ghats

8 min read
0
0
183

Seven new miniature frog species which can comfortably sit even on a child’s thumbnail have been discovered by Indian scientists in the Western Ghats after five years of extensive exploration. The study conducted by two Delhi University-based researchers in the Western Ghats said that these frogs were overlooked earlier because of their insect-like calls and secretive habitats.

“It is a very interesting finding because they are from small geographical region. Apart from big animals like Tiger and elephants, there is a need to conserve this tiny amphibian also as they have been ignored. It is a very cute and small animal,” Prof SD Biju, who led the new study told PTI.

download

“Over 32 per cent, that is one-third of the Western Ghats frogs are already threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritisation,” he said, adding that these frogs are active during both night and day time unlike other breeds who are active only during night.

The study, titled “Seven new species of Night Frogs from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with remarkably high diversity of diminutive forms”, was published yesterday in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed open access journal.

“Till now only very few miniature frogs were known in this group. It is a very good find. They are very ancient group of frogs which evolved much earlier. These species of frogs is exclusive to Western Ghats which has vast diversity,” Sonali Garg, who undertook this study as part of her PhD research at University of Delhi, said.

“In fact, the miniature species are locally abundant and fairly common but they have probably been overlooked because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls,” Garg said.

In India, we really need to conserve small forms of animals because they have not been highlighted, so there is a need to make their presence felt as well, she added.

Unlike other frogs in the Nyctibatrachus genus (Night frogs) that are predominantly stream dwelling, the new miniature frogs were found under damp forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation, the report said.

Previously, the Night Frog genus comprised of 28 recognised species of which only three were miniature-sized (less than 18 mm). Now the total number of known species has increased to 35, of which 20 per cent are diminutive in size, the report in the journal said.

download-5

This frog genus is endemic to the Western Ghats and represents an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70–80 million years ago.

“In fact, the miniature species are locally abundant and fairly common but they have probably been overlooked because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls,” Garg said.

In India, we really need to conserve small forms of animals because they have not been highlighted, so there is a need to make their presence felt as well, she added.

Unlike other frogs in the Nyctibatrachus genus  that are predominantly stream dwelling, the new miniature frogs were found under damp forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation, the report said.

Previously, the Night Frog genus comprised of 28 recognised species of which only three were miniature-sized (less than 18 mm). Now the total number of known species has increased to 35, of which 20 per cent are diminutive in size, the report in the journal said.

download-4

Enormous diversity

Of the 28 species of night frogs, 13 species were identified and documented over the last five years. With every discovery, scientists have realised just how diverse the group was. In 2007, Garg’s mentor SD Biju, who has discovered over 80 species of frogs so far, found India’s smallest frog species Nyctibatrachus minimus, that is just 10 mm in length. Popularly known as the frogman, Biju and his team went on to find 12 other species belong to the night frogs group in 2011. The largest species of night frog found, Nyctibatrachus grandis, is 77 mm in length and lets out a deep croaky call.

download-3

Significance of miniatures

Of the 35 night frogs found in the Western Ghats so far, seven are miniature, less than 18 mm in length.“In group after group of amphibians, miniatures have evolved,” said David B Wake, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied miniaturisation in amphibians over many years. “We have been slow to understand this because the miniatures often look like juveniles of common larger forms and have been overlooked.”

download-1

Conservation and names

Although night frogs are quite common across the Western Ghats, they face considerable threats from human activity.

“While new species are being identified, the known ones are moving towards extinction,” said Biju. He said that frogs are already threatened with extinction in one-third of the Western Ghats. He said of the seven new species found, five required immediate priority for conservation since they were all found outside the protected forest zone.

Link to original

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Dhana Lakshmi
Load More In Tech Gadgets

Comments

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Remedies For How To Increase Life Span Eat Grapes

Grapes are important part of human diet. This fruit has high nutritional value and numerou…