New frog species identified in Ghats

The new species of frog ‘Fejervarya gomantaki’.  

A team of zoologists, including those from the Kozhikode Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), has identified a new species of frog in the Western Ghat region of Belgaum and Goa.

The new species has been named ‘Fejervarya gomantaki,’ indicating its connection to Goa. They are usually found in low lying water-logged areas of Goa and adjoining hill ranges of Belgaum, said B.H. Chennakeshavamurthy of ZSI Kozhikode centre and one of the team members.

According to the team members, the lowland areas of Western Ghats in Goa and in the hilly regions of Belgaum, it is quite common to hear the chorus call from mud pools, paddy fields, and local water bodies in the monsoon during late evening.

Many of these were terrestrial frogs sitting next to water bodies making calls to attract females for mating, they said. These frogs belong to the genus Fejervarya of the family Dicroglossidae and are commonly known as either ‘cricket frogs' or ‘Fejervaryan frogs.’

They range in size from small (19 mm) to large (56 mm) and are distributed throughout Asia. “Most Fejervaryan frogs are morphologically very similar and difficult to identify on the basis of external characters alone, creating taxonomic uncertainty in terms of names, identification and systematics,” said Mr. Chennakeshavamurthy. The identification process, including through genetic sequencing, was completed in a year and the discovery was an encouraging biological indicator to the health of the region’s ecosystem, he said.

The team was led by K.P. Dinesh, S.P. Vijayakumar, Varun Torsekar, and Kartik Shanker of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Nirmal Kulkarni of Mhadei Research Centre, Goa, is the other member of the team.

The scientists have used a combination of morphology, geographic distribution range, and molecular methods to describe the new species. The finding has been published in the recent edition of the international taxonomic journal Zootaxa.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 12:19:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/new-frog-species-identified-in-ghats/article7528498.ece

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