New species of skittering frog discovered from surroundings of Thattekkad bird sanctuary

The Euphlyctis Kerala species of frog discovered from near the Thattekkad bird sanctuary.

The Euphlyctis Kerala species of frog discovered from near the Thattekkad bird sanctuary.

A new species of skittering frog has been identified from the surroundings of the Thattekkad bird sanctuary.

A team of researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Mount Carmel College (MCC), Bengaluru, and National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar, made the discovery.

The new species is named as Euphlyctis Kerala in honour of the remarkable biodiversity of the State, which is also known for many endemic species of frogs.

The research findings of the study are published in the International Journal Zootaxa published from New Zealand.

The study is part of an “Integrative Taxonomic Approach (ITA)” wherein scientists utilise morphological characters, genetic studies and other parameters to substantiate their findings of new species. This discovery was a part of the Zoological Survey of India’s (WGRC, Kozhikode) faunal exploratory and documentation programme in the Thattekad bird sanctuary.

Initial studies suggest that the new species Euphlyctis Kerala is known to be found in the fresh water bodies of the foothills of the Western Ghats, south of the Palakkad Gap.

More studies are likely to understand the exact distribution range of the species from Kerala. Since these frogs live in fresh water bodies, conservation of these freshwater systems plays a crucial role in conservation of the species as well as species populations.

Although multiple skittering frogs have been described from India for almost two centuries (since 1799), the taxonomic mess within this group created a lot of confusion due to “morphological character crypticity”, say the scientists.

Members of the genus Euphlyctis (skittering frogs) have their distribution range from Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. Earlier, skittering frog species known from India were thought to be widespread across other countries, but with the help of the new work, these problems are resolved showing some of the frogs as endemic to India, the release said.

The study team says that it took a long time to resolve the problems as the locality names mentioned in the historical species descriptions were ambiguous and subsequent workers followed the same.

As of now, Kerala is known to have 180 species of frogs and there could be many more new species awaiting formal descriptions suggests the study team.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 3:28:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/new-species-of-skittering-frog-discovered-from-surroundings-of-thattekkad-bird-sanctuary/article34917143.ece