The Western Ghats, one of the biological hotspots in the world, has always been a favourite haunt of biologists and the rich tropical forests never disappoint an inquisitive researcher. Two scientists from Delhi University recently found two species of leaping frogs hitherto unidentified by the scientific world from the slopes of the Ghats, once again underscoring the significance of the mountain ranges which is fast losing its protective cover, thanks to the pressures of development, mining and unbridled encroachment. 

 

The scientists, Sonali Garg and S.D. Biju,  published the new finding in the latest issue of Plos One, an open-access scientific journal.  They identified Indirana paramakri from the rocks near streams and under leafy cover in Settukunu and Sugandhagiri in Wayanad district while the specimen of Indirana bhadrai was collected from Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka. 

 

 Paramakri derives its name from Malayalam words para (rock) and makri (frog). Indirana bhadrai is named after Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary where it was found. 

How to identify the new frogs: 

Indirana paramakri

  • Found mainly in rocky terrains. 
  • Reddish brown in colour. 
  • Black band extending from the nostril to the sides. 
  • Small snout 
  • Unique toe webbing.


Indirana bhadrai

  • Light brown 
  • Irregular dark brown blotches along the dorsal skin folds
  • Dark greyish-brown band between the eyes

 

By conducting DNA barcoding of over 200 samples of the ancient genus of Indirana frogs endemic to the Ghats, the researchers provide new estimates of the species diversity and distribution. They have also recommended the reassessment of IUCN categorization of the leaping frogs for effective conservation.