PANJIM: In a major milestone for Western Ghats, researchers from three nationally acclaimed institutions have discovered 12 new night frog species in the stretches of thick forest spanning across Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Along with the dozen new species, researchers have also rediscovered three ‘lost’
species of frogs, one of which have been spotted after nearly a century.
According to the findings that appeared in the journal Zootaxa the newly discovered species of frogs belong to the night frog group, named so due to their nocturnal habits.
Dr. S.D. Biju of the University of Delhi led the team of researchers from the Bombay Natural History Society, Zoological Survey of India and Vrije University in Brussels. The three rediscovered frog species include Kempholey Night Frog and Forest Night Frogs, rediscovered after 75 years and the Coorg Night Frog spotted after a gap of 91 years.
A scholar from then Bangalore Central College in Karnataka described these frogs between 1920 and 1937. However, for decades following their original description, no further reports of these three little known species were made.
The researchers have said that they collected specimens of frogs from the Western Ghats forests from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra during 20-year-long fieldwork. They have identified the 12 new species following a revision of the night frog genus called Nyctibatrachus from the specimens.
“Half of the new species do not require physical contact between the sexes to reproduce. The female frog lays her eggs on a leaf while the males later fertilizes them. Both the male and female take utmost care of the eggs by bringing them water to prevent drying out and by defending against predators,” the findings read.
The names of the new frog species are Nyctibatrachus acanthodermis, Nyctibatrachus danieli, Nyctibatrachus devein, Nyctibatrachus gavi, Nyctibatrachus grandis, Nyctibatrachus indraneili, Nyctibatrachus jog, Nyctibatrachus periyar, Nyctibatrachus pillaii, Nyctibatrachus poocha, Nyctibatrachus shiradi and Nyctibatrachus vrijeuni.
“While six were seen inside the forest areas, the remaining six were spotted outside the protected areas. At least six of the 12 new species are sensitive to habitat loss, because of the small area they occupy. Therefore, immediate steps are required for their conservation,” say researchers.