The ‘Lost Amphibians of India’ was an ambitious project started out three months ago specifically to look for those rare amphibians who had not been traced in the wild or otherwise for many years. With a list of 50 to start with, the researchers have already succeeded in locating five of the lost frog species.
The species rediscovered were,
- Bubble Nest Frog (Chalazodes)
- Dot Frog (Ramanella anamalaiensis)
- Dehradun stream frog (Amolops chakrataensis)
- Silent Valley Tropical Frog (Micrixalus thampii)
- Elegant Tropical Frog (Micrixalus elegans)
According to programme coordinator S D Biju, an important discovery of the amphibian world was the Bubble Nest Frog or Chalazodes. The frog is flouroscent green in color with blue thighs and black pupil with golden patches. It is a critically endangered animal and was believed to be lost since 1874.
What is interesting about the species is that unlike other frogs, it does not have the tadpole stage and the complete development take place inside the egg.
The frog was discovered in Kodayar in Tamil Nadu state.
One of the other five frogs found again was the Dot Frog or Ramanella anamalaiensis. This frog was last seen in 1937 and rediscovered at Parambikulam, Kerala. Named after the famous Annamalai hills it was not even considered a lost species as the original specimen had been lost.
The Dehradun stream frog or Amolops chakrataensis was one of the other species rediscovered. Last seen in 1985 it was again found in Tiger Falls, Chakrata, Dehradun.
Another interesting find was a frog in a rubbish bin in Silent Valley Park of Kerela. It was named the Silent Valley Tropical frog scientifically known as Micrixalus thampii. Once this lone survivor was discovered, the researchers easily located others of its clan hiding beneath leaves near the Kunti River.
The fifth discovery was the elegant tropical frog (Micrixalus elegans), found in Kempholey, Karnataka after 73 years.
According to S D Biju Professor in Environment Biology at Delhi University, “The team that found the five species included Ganesan R Seshadri (bubble nest), S P Vijayakumar and Anil Kumar (dot), Sonali Garg and other Delhi University students (Dehradun stream), Don Church and Robin Moore (silent valley tropical) and K V Gururaja and K P Dinesh (elegant tropical frog).”
India is home to 321 amphibian species but 13 percent of this population is feared to be lost.
Hopefully with time the list of discoveries will only grow longer.
News source Image Courtesy news.nationalgeographic.com
For more details and photographs of the rediscovered species see here.