TINY NEW FROG SPECIES FOUND IN INDIA
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.