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IND Press: Smallest Indian frog found

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Wed Oct 10 13:34:15 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

THE HINDU (Chennai, India) 04 October 07 Smallest Indian frog found (P. Venugopal)
Photo at URL below: New species: The smallest frog ever to be reported from India is comparable in size to those reported from anywhere in the world.
The latest issue of Current Science, the international science journal, reports the finding of the smallest known land vertebrate in India, a miniature frog, from Kurichiyarmala in Keralaís Wayanad district on the Western Ghats of peninsular India. The finding was reported by Delhi University Systematics Biologist S.D. Biju and his colleagues. This new species of frog, measuring only between 10 and 14 millimetres in size in adult males, belongs to the Nyctibatrachidae family and they have named it Nyctibatrachus minimus.
The frog compares in smallness to the smallest reported from any other part of the world, including Cuba, the Amazon and Borneo. There are only 12 recognised species currently in Nyctibatrachidae family. The scientists found the fro g in the Shola forests of Kurichiyarmala, at an altitude of 1,200 metres above mean sea level. The frog usually rests under leaf litter or rocks and turns active during the night, with the males starting their calls inflating their subgular external vocal sacs on either side of their neck immediately after sunset.
It is most vociferousduring the nights of the monsoon season, the best time for reproduction. Nyctibatrachus means night-frog.
Though other researchers might have found it in the recent past, it could have been mistaken for the juvenile specimen of Nyctibatrachus minor, another species slightly bigger in size first reported in 1984. Miniaturisation in Nyctibatrachus species seems to be associated with the absence of webbing on toes and fingers, which may have resulted from evolutionary specification to life in terrestrial habitats, according to Dr. Biju.
Western Ghats is considered one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots in the world, and the new finding is yet another indication of how incomplete the knowledge of its biotic wealth is at present, even at the higher taxonomic levels.
Dr. Biju has been working in the Western Ghats to find new species of frogs over the past several years, and his findings include the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus) and the first Indian canopy frog (Philautus nerostagona) from the region.
Smallest Indian frog found


   

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