Sonali Garg,¬†a Ph.D. candidate, and her supervisor, Prof. SD Biju,¬†two researchers from Delhi University discovered a new genus of frogs. The researchers found the new species¬†from a temporary wayside puddle from the southern Western Ghats in Kerala.
To recognize the genus, they did extensive studies¬†such as external morphology of adult and larvae, hand musculature, male advertisement calls, and DNA.
- After three years of extensive study, the researchers found this new species from a roadside puddle.
- The researchers named the new genus¬†Mysticellus¬†and the species¬†franki¬†(honoring evolutionary biologist Professor Franky Bossuyt).¬†Mysticellus¬†means ‘mysterious’ in Latin.
- These are microhylid or narrow-mouthed frogs.
- The frog appears for less than four days for breeding activities while it lives secretly for the majority year.
- The genus¬†is endemic to that specific region in the Western Ghats.
- This discovery is published as a scientific article titled ‘New microhylid frog genus from Peninsular India with Southeast Asian affinity suggests multiple Cenozoic biotic exchanges between India and Eurasia’. It is available in the current issue of the Nature¬†Research Group journal.
- Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) and Delhi University funded this research.
BRIGHT FUTURE FOR MORE SUCH DISCOVERIES?
Surprisingly, the area in context has been one of the most explored regions in the Western Ghats and still, this genus went unnoticed. Sonali Garg in a statement indicated that this biodiversity hotspot offers scope for more discoveries. This region witnessed the discovery of four new species of burrowing frogs in 2017 itself.
However, many amphibians are on the verge of extinction.¬†”At the same time, Indian amphibians face various extinction threats, especially due to habitat loss and degradation. The only known population of the new genus is found in a wayside area disturbed with vehicular movement, plantation activities, and human settlements,” said Sonali.
At present, the researchers are gathering conservation requirements of the new genus.