New Frog species - Netravali Leaping Frog discovered
Aug 12, 2015, 06.41 AM IST
A new Frog species - Netravali Leaping Frog (Indirana salelkari) was discovered on the edge of the Netravali wildlife sanctuary in Goa.
"The Netravali Leaping Frog (Indirana salelkari) is the 12th species in the Indirana genus, an interesting genus because it is entirely endemic to the Western Ghats. In fact, the family this genus belongs to is endemic to the Western Ghats. We chanced upon the frog on a farm that is on the edge of the Netravali wildlife sanctuary. It looked different. We also carried out molecular studies and were able to identify it as a genetically separate species. This is an integrated taxonomic approach," said Neelesh Dahanukar, a fellow at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune.
He further said the discovery of this species is important from conservation point of view for two reasons. "Firstly, it demonstrates that there are so many species out there that we don't even know about. This is the second frog species discovered in this genus in the last two years."
This habitat of these frogs is mainly streams and rock surfaces of Western Ghats. Dahanukar pointed out the distinctive features of these frogs as -
- presence of small pads on their toes and fingers. The pads help them climb rocks.
- This particular species is distinct from the others in the genus on the basis of the mouth structure. Frogs have what are called vomerine teeth on the roof of their mouths. They are not used for chewing food, but to grip onto their prey. Their teeth structure is different from that of others in the genus, he added.
Dahanukar pointed out these frogs faces several threats. He said "Many of the locals are involved in illegal trade of exotic species such as newts. These invasive species can severely damage local habitats and can also bring in diseases like Chytrid. For a group of frogs that is endemic this can be devastating, because once they are lost they will be gone forever."