(Mirror Daily, United States) – Earlier this week, a team of scientists presented 4 tiny frog species. They were presented amongst 7 newly discovered species. These were all detected in the Western Ghats region, in India.
An announcement on the matter came earlier this week. It is the result of about 5 years of extensive studies and explorations in India. Scientists targeted the Western Ghats region. The area is considered to be a global diversity hotspot.
Research on the matter was carried out by University of Delhi scientists. They were led by Sonali Garg. She is a Ph.D. student researcher, part of the University. Study results and reports were also released earlier this week. A research paper was published in PeerJ.
Available online since February 21st, it was titled as follows. “Seven new species of Night Frogs (Anura, Nyctibatrachidae) from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with remarkably high diversity of diminutive forms”.
The 4 new tiny frog species, as well as their bigger brothers, belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus. More commonly, this latter is known as Night Frogs. It is part of the Nyctibatrachidae family. Most of the family members are known for their dark colors and also night habitats.
Out of the 7 newly discovered species, 4 are considered miniature-like specimens. These tiny frog species are approximately 12 millimeters or less than an inch big. As such, they could easily fit on a thumbnail. The biggest discovered specimens were almost 16 millimeters big.
As the researchers pointed out, these are amongst the smallest known frog species in the world.
And they are also quite different from other species in their genus. Most Night Frogs are predominantly stream dwellers. However, these tiny frog species were seen to live in a somewhat different habitat.
They were discovered in marsh vegetation or under the damp forest leaf litter. And they were noted to be quite in abundance. This fact surprised the research team. Especially so as the species was previously unknown.
The aforementioned lead, Garg, went to offer details. According to her, the tiny frog species are locally abundant. They also seem to be fairly common in the area. As such, she believes that the tiny frog species may have previously been overlooked.
But this most probably happened because of their miniature size. And also because they live in quite secretive habitats. They also have an almost insect-like call.
The researchers studied the properties of these newly discovered frogs. Lab tests showed that they are, indeed, new species. Tests included DNA studies, bioacoustics, and detailed morphological comparisons. This integrated taxonomic approach confirmed the Night Frogs diversity.
Previously, scientists recognized 28 Night Frog species. And amongst them, just 3 were miniature sizes. Now, the genus has gained 7 new members.
The newly discovered species are part of an ancient group of frogs. As such, they could provide useful insights into the local lineage evolution. It could help offer new data as to how and when such new species developed.
Still, the newly discovered frogs may be facing some rough times. According to research, 5 out of 7 species are in immediate need of conservation prioritization. This is because they are already facing some significant anthropogenic threats.
And their situation can be generally applied. More than 32 percent or one-third of the frog species detected in the Western Ghats are already in danger. They are threatened with extinction. And whilst some species live in Protected areas, others reside outside of them.
The new tiny frog species and their bigger brothers also inhabit single localities. More exactly, they were found to live in just one place. Which may have a further impact on their future. They are most likely to suffer when faced with habitat-related threats. For example, habitat fragmentation, modification, or disturbance.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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