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Sand-eating tadpoles of Indian Dancing Frog Family Micrixalidae found in Western Ghats

This discovery builds the knowledge base for further comparative analyses and conservation of Micrixalus, an ancient and endemic lineage of Indian frogs.

Mar 31, 2016 14:18 IST
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tadpoleA group of scientists discovered sand-eating tadpole in the southern Western Ghats. The tadpole lives in total darkness, until it fully develops into a young frog.

The discovery of the tadpole was documented on 30 March 2016 in the journal PLOS One.

The tadpole belongs to the Indian Dancing Frog family, Micrixalidae.

The discovery is the result of collaborative efforts of scientists from the University of Delhi, the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and Gettysburg College, California.

This discovery builds the knowledge base for further comparative analyses and conservation of Micrixalus, an ancient and endemic lineage of Indian frogs.

Key facts related to the sand-eating tadpoles

They are actively burrowing tadpoles that lead an entirely fossorial life from eggs to late metamorphic stages.

They have an eel-like appearance.

They possess an extensively muscularized body and tail, reduced tail fins, skin-covered eyes, delayed development of eye pigmentation in early pre-metamorphic stages.

They lack teeth; however, they have serrated well-formed jaw sheaths.

The tadpole gut contains mostly fine sediments and sand.

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