Five new species of shrub frogs have been discovered from the Western Ghats by researchers from India and the US. Western Ghats are one of the globally recognised biodiversity hotspots.
The frogs belong to the Old World tree frog family Rhacophoridae.
As per a report in news agency PTI, they were discovered by researchers from University of Delhi, Kerala Forest Research Institute and University of Minnesota. The discovery is 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.
The new species were identified and found to be distinct based on multiple criteria. These include the frogs’ external morphology, DNA, calling pattern, behaviour, and other natural history observations, reported PTI.
About the study
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, reported PTI.
The study was carried out under the leadership of Delhi University Professor Biju.
About new species of frogs
As per the report, one of new species called Raorchestes drutaahu (Fast-calling Shrub Frog) was discovered from 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.
The third species Raorchestes keirasabinae (Keira”s Shrub Frog) was found in Agasthyamalai and Anamalai hills in the southern Western Ghats. It is a unique tree frog inhabiting the highest canopy layers.
The four species 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, reported PTI.
The fifth species Raorchestes 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.
Source: India Today