Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Sunday, March 3, 2024

New frog genus discovered in NE forests





Professor Sathyabhama Das Biju of DU, popularly known as the 'frogman of India', and his team of researchers have discovered a new genus of tree hole-breeding frogs in the forests of India's northeast and China. These frogs are special because the tadpoles feed on their mother's eggs.
The team comprised PhD students of Biju and researchers from National Centre for Cell Science (Pune), University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and American Museum of Natural History (USA).
The findings have been published in a paper titled 'Frankixalus, a new rhacophorid genus of tree hole-breeding frog with oophagous tadpoles' in the current issue of international journal PLoS One. The genus has been named Frankixalus after Professor Franky Bossuyt of Vrije Universiteit Brussel for his contribution to amphibian research.
"In 1870, British naturalist T C Jerdon collected two specimens of a tree frog from forests of Darjeeling and preserved them at Natural History Museum, London. The frog was not found in the wild for over 150 years and was scientifically deemed lost. It remained a mysterious creature-a victim of mistaken identity ever since," Biju said.
The overlooked specimens in London were pulled out of the museum cabinets and studied, and the team conducted extensive field work for three years in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim and Darjeeling (West Bengal). The samples were analysed in the genetics lab of DU.
"Our discovery indicates that documentation of Indian amphibians is still incomplete. Unfortunately, many of them face various extinction threats, especially due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Several populations of the new genus were found in highly disturbed habitats, which is a reason for concern. Taking any conservation effort for amphibians will indirectly conserve several other life forms of that area," said Biju.
Biju and his team had in 2014 discovered seven new species of golden-backed frogs from the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka global biodiversity hotspot.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/New-frog-genus-discovered-in-NE-forests/articleshow/50660963.cms