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Five new species of shrub frogs found in Western Ghats

Five new species of shrub frogs found in Western Ghats
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Kochi, Mar 3 (PTI) Researchers from India and the US

have discovered five new species of shrub frogs from the

Western Ghats, one of the globally recognised biodiversity

hotspots.

The frogs, belonging to the the Old World tree frog

family Rhacophoridae, were discovered by researchers from

University of Delhi and Kerala Forest Research Institute and

University of Minnesota as part of a long comprehensive study

on the Shrub frogs (genus Raorchestes) of the Western Ghats,

carried out over a period of nearly 10 years.

Researchers said the new species were identified and

found to be distinct based on multiple criteria, such as their

external morphology, DNA, calling pattern, behaviour, and

other natural history observations.

The findings are published in a scientific article

titled ''An integrative approach to infer systematic

relationships and define species groups in the shrub frog

(genus Raorchestes), with description of five new species from

the Western Ghats, India''.

The authors are Sonali Garg, Robin Suyesh, Sandeep

Das, Mark A Bee, and Prof S D Biju and it is published in the

current issue of the International journal PeerJ.

The study was carried out under the leadership of

Delhi University Professor Biju.

While one of the new species called Raorchestes

drutaahu (Fast-calling Shrub Frog) was discovered from two

localities: Kadalar in Idukki district and Siruvani in

Palakkad district of Kerala, another one named Raorchestes

kakkayamensis (Kakkayam Shrub Frog) was found only in the

vicinity of Kakkayam dam in the southern state.

Raorchestes keirasabinae (Keira''s Shrub Frog), a

unique tree frog inhabiting the highest canopy layers, was

found in Agasthyamalai and Anamalai hills in the southern

Western Ghats.

The species is named after young nature lover Keira

Sabin, in appreciation of the long-time support and commitment

of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation towards amphibian

research and conservation around the world.

Raorchestes sanjappai (Sanjappa''s Shrub Frog), a

beautiful green shrub frog, was discovered from the Wayanad

region of northern Kerala.The species is named after Dr M

Sanjappa, a renowned Indian Botanist and former Director of

the Botanical Survey of India.

TheRaorchestes vellikkannan (Silver-eyed Shrub Frog)

was discovered in the Siruvani hills and adjoining regions of

the Silent Valley National Park.

The name is derived from Malayalam ''velli'' (meaning

silver) and ''kannu'' (meaning eye), referring to its distinct

silver eye colour.

According to the researchers, over 80 per cent of the

globally known shrub frogs are restricted to the Western

Ghats, and most species are known to have narrow geographical

ranges.

For the first time, male calls for as many as 48

species of shrub frogs were studied, they said.

According to the study, the shrub frogs of the genus

Raorchestes exhibit highly unique and diverse eye colour and

patterns.

Biju, who is the head of Department of Environmental

studies in Delhi University, said the study was a testament to

how little is known about the most threatened group of

vertebrates in India.

"Shrub frogs are among the most researched groups of

frogs in India, with frequent new discoveries being made over

the past two decades.Yet, we are far from fully understanding

their existing diversity and uniqueness."

"Our work has once again added new insights on what

we thought we knew about this group of frogs, from how to

identify different species and their affinities to each

other, to where they live and how vulnerable they may be to

various anthropogenic threats," he said.

Scientists are now tracing potential evidence for

population decline of the five newly discovered species, and

any threats that they may be facing within their known ranges,

in order to protect them from extinction.

"Several new species are often threatened even before

they are formally named and known to science. Many of these

may already be extinct before they are discovered."

"It is an unfortunate fate that scientists call as

the nameless extinction," said Sonali Garg, the lead author of

the study.PTI TGB

BN BN


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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