Nine new species of bush frogs were discovered in the Western Ghats by scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Bush frogs are a miniature frog species distributed throughout South and South East Asia.
Findings of the discovery were published in international journal Zootaxa. IISc team that discovered these species was led by S P Vijayakumar and Kartik Shanker.
All the nine species of bush frogs belong to the genus Raorchestes frogs, which are distributed across the Western Ghats. Some of these discovered frogs are tiny as a thumbnail while other are brightly coloured or plain slimy.
The list of nine frogs and their characteristic
• Raorchestes flaviocularis: The species carries metallic-yellow patches on its eyes and was discovered perched on the leaves of short trees in a disturbed forest fragment within a tea estate
• Raorchestes aureus: It is known for its golden eyes, which is surrounded by speckles. This species was found in 2010 in grasslands on the edge of a forest.
• Raorchestes primarrumpfi: the species live in grasslands and swamps at high elevations. Its name has been derived from the German word, Primarrumpf.
• Raorchestes echinatus: Carries horn-like ridges on its back and its eyes are speckled gold with a brown band on the lower edge. The species was spotted on grass blades in 2011.
• Raorchestes emerald: the species is about 5 cm long and is the largest Raorchestes species known. The species has fleshy purplish armpits, and yellow spots scattered on its body.
• Raorchestes leucolatus: the species is found along the edges of wet evergreen forests on shrubs and grasses. It is a dark-brownish-red with white spots.
• Raorchestes archeos: It is a light-brown, medium-sized bush frog and its half arms are black while the other half is brown. It was first spotted in wet evergreen forests in 2010.
• Raorchestes blandus: It has been named after its melodious mating calls and in which bland (a Latin word) means pleasant. Spotted first time in 2008, carries an irregular regular-brown glandular patches on its skin and
• Raorchestes indigo: It has been named after the patches of indigo on the underside of its legs. It was found on leaves on the forest floor of Kudremukh, a mountain peak that has an uncanny resemblance to a horse's face.
The project was funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR - India). Forest departments from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also supported the team in their study.
Earlier in June 2014, scientists had also discovered 14 new species of dancing frogs in the Western Ghats of southern India. The Indian Dancing frogs are scientifically known as Micrixalidae and their family comprises a single genus Micrixalus.
Where: in Western Ghats