A team of researchers from India and Sri Lanka has discovered seven new species of golden-backed frogs in the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka global biodiversity hotspot, throwing new light on the highly distinct and diverse fauna in the two countries.
The results of the decade-long survey published in the latest issue of Contributions to Zoology , an international journal brought out by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands, show that the frogs in Sri Lanka and those in India belong to distinctly different species. It was earlier believed that some of the golden-backed frogs ( GenusHylarana ) found in the two countries were of the same species.DNA study
The team, led by Delhi University’s Prof. S.D. Biju, used DNA techniques and morphological evidence as tools to identify species and understand the frogs’ distribution.
The survey yielded 14 distinct golden-backed frogs, with seven new species, including one ( Hylarana serendipi ) from Sri Lanka. Of the six new species from the Western Ghats, four ( H. doni, H.urbis, H.magna and H sreeni ) are found in Kerala and one each in Karnataka ( H. indica ) and Maharashtra ( H.caesari ).
“The distribution pattern of the species highlights the need to reassess the conservation status of the amphibians and work out separate conservation strategies,” Prof. Biju said.
The study also indicates that frogs in the region are under threat due to habitat destruction. Interestingly, one of the newly-named species, Hylarana urbis, had remained unnoticed though its habitat is in urban areas in and around Kochi and is under threat due to human activity.