A group of Indian scientists recently discovered seven new miniature frog species in the Western Ghats.
The frogs can comfortably sit even on a child's thumbnail. They were discovered after five years of extensive exploration. These species are among the seven new ‘Night Frogs,’ discovered by Delhi University-based researchers and the Kerala Forest Department. They spent five years surveying the global biodiversity hotspot.
The study is titled Seven new species of Night Frogs from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with remarkably high diversity of diminutive forms.
The study was published on 21 February 2017 in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed open access journal.
Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus endemic to the Western Ghats and represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago.
Key highlights of the study
• These miniature frogs are active during both night and day time unlike other breeds.
• Out of the seven new species that have been discovered, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritisation.
• Four out of seven of the new species are just sized 12.2-15.4 mm.
• These species of frogs is exclusive to Western Ghats. They are locally abundant and fairly common; however, they have probably been overlooked because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls.
• As per the study, they were found under damp forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation.