Creating a milestone in the field of animal discovery, Indian scientists have discovered as many as seven new miniature frog species in the Western Ghats after five years of extensive exploration. Four out of seven of the new species are just sized 12.2-15.4 mm.
The study, titled “Seven new species of Night Frogs from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with remarkably high diversity of diminutive forms”, was published Tuesday in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed open access journal. It was conducted by two Delhi University-based researchers in the Western Ghats.
Prof SD Biju, who led the study, said, “It is a very interesting finding because they are from small geographical region. Apart from big animals like Tiger and elephants, there is a need to conserve this tiny amphibian also as they have been ignored.”
Over 32 per cent, that is one-third of the Western Ghats frogs are already threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritisation, he said, adding that these frogs are active during both night and day time unlike other breeds who are active only during night.
“Till now only very few miniature frogs were known in this group. It is a very good find. They are very ancient group of frogs which evolved much earlier. These species of frogs is exclusive to Western Ghats which has vast diversity,” Sonali Garg, who undertook this study as part of her PhD research at University of Delhi, said.
In fact, the miniature species are locally abundant and fairly common but they have probably been overlooked because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls, Garg stated.