Dozen Frog Species Discovered in India’s Western Ghats

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Photo courtesy S D Biju, http://www.frogindia.org/

A dozen frogs new to science were discovered in the forests of Western Ghats, a 1,000-mile-long mountain range that runs the length of India, Delhi University announced today.

Amphibian researchers S D Biju of Delhi University’s Systematics Lab and Franky Bossuyt of the Amphibian Evolution Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel have published the discoveries in the latest issue of Zoological Journal of Linnean Society, London.

Their research paper describes the discovery of 12 new Philautus species of frogs and the “rediscovery” of a “lost species,” the Travancore bushfrog (Philautus travancoricus) considered extinct since it was last reported more than a 100 years back, according to a news release issued by Delhi University.

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Photo courtesy S D Biju, http://www.frogindia.org/

“This discovery further highlights the need to conserve species and their habitat in the Western Ghats,” the release said. “Forests here continue to be threatened and large areas are being destroyed for plantation and urbanization.

“The Western Ghats is home to a large number of endemic species that are not found outside the Ghats. Seemingly small disturbances in their habitat could wipe out several species. Once a species is lost, it cannot be brought back by any effort.”

Seven of the 12 new species were only found in unprotected areas which were forests some time back, the news statement continued. “Habitats are rapidly disappearing and immediate steps are required to protect the remaining forests from human activities like plantation and urbanization.

“Scientific conservation should replace thoughtless exploitation of natural resources.”

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Photo courtesy S D Biju, http://www.frogindia.org/

Changing Planet

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