Focus-Science and Technology - - Discoveries -

This lit­tle guy be­longs to one of seven new frog species that were re­cently found hop­ping among the fallen leaves in the forests of In­dia’s Western Ghats moun­tain range by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Delhi.

Part of the genus Nyctiba­tra­chus, more com­monly known as night frogs, four out of the seven amphibians dis­cov­ered are less than 15mm in length – small enough to perch on a hu­man thumb­nail.

De­spite be­ing new to sci­ence, the frogs are rel­a­tively com­mon in their lo­cal ar­eas. “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,” said Son­ali Garg, a re­searcher who worked on the project.

The frogs were clas­si­fied us­ing DNA stud­ies and are part of an an­cient genus of frogs that di­ver­si­fied on the In­dian land­mass ap­prox­i­mately 70-80 mil­lion years ago. How­ever, due to their close prox­im­ity to hu­mans, sev­eral of them are fac­ing ex­tinc­tion.

“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,” said lead re­searcher SD Biju.

Robin­moore’s night frog is tiny enough to crouch on a coin

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