Burrowing frogs add to diversity of Western Ghats

Opening another window into the fascinating world of amphibian diversity in the Western Ghats, a research student at the Delhi University has reported the discovery of four new species of burrowing frogs.

The finding, published in the international journal Zootaxa, is the result of five years of extensive explorations in the Western Ghats forests. The four new species belong to the genus Fejervarya, but unlike other members of the family, they possess the ability to burrow.

“Two of the new species could be facing serious threats from human activities,” says Sonali Garg, who conducted this study as part of her PhD research.

“Like most amphibians, they are highly sensitive to changes in the climate, and hence can be studied as environmental indicator species,” says Ms.Garg.

“We need to be concerned about the threats to these frogs and do more studies to re-assess their conservation status,” says Prof. S.D. Biju, who led the study.

The first of the new species, Manoharan’s Burrowing Frog (Fejervarya manoharani), was discovered from the Agasthyamala hills in South Kerala and is named after T.M. Manoharan, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, in recognition of his conservation efforts. The Kadar Burrowing Frog (Fejervarya kadar) was collected from the Vazhachal forests and named after the Kadar tribe that was in the forefront of the agitation against the Athiripilly hydel project. The CEPF Burrowing Frog (Fejervarya cepfi) was found in Amboli, a popular hill station in Maharashtra and is named after the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund which had contributed to the preservation of biodiversity in the Western Ghats.

Discovered in the Parambikulam tiger reserve, the Neil Cox’s Burrowing Frog (Fejervarya neilcoxi) was named after Dr. Neil Cox of the International Union for Conservation of Nature who was instrumental in preparing the Red List of global amphibian species.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:54:49 PM |

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