After a five-year survey, scientists revealed a new species of small frog in India. Besides revealing a frog as small as a fingernail, researchers also uncovered other six new species of night frogs about the Nyctibatrachus genus. Four of these species are the smallest which were ever found. They are so small that they can easily crouch on a thumbnail.
- Scientists have uncovered seven new species of night frogs.
- Three of them are the tiniest ones which were ever revealed in the world.
- For instance, Nyctibatrachus manalari is a small frog measuring less than 0.5 inches.
Even if these species are extremely spread in the area, they were undetected until recently due to their minuscule size and the sounds they make, resembling with the sounds of insects. After including these new species, researchers noted that now the total number of night frog species is of 35. Seven of these species were recognized as being miniaturized due to the fact that they are even smaller than 0.7 inches.
These are among the smallest frogs in the world. The tiniest species which were recently discovered are Nyctibatrachus manalari, N. robinmoorei, N. sabarimalai and N. pulivijayani, measuring between 0.5 and 0.6 inches. However, N. athirappillyensis and N. webilla are larger, reaching 0.8 and 0.7 inches respectively. The largest species of the new ones which were revealed is N. radcliffei which measures 1.5 inches.
Night frogs are usually very widespread in the Western Ghats mountain range. This is one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world, being also a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. This area is parallel to the western coast of India, covering a land which measures about 54,054 square miles.
Hundreds of species of plants and animals live in this area. UNESCO reported that most of the species are threatened with extinction. About 145 of the, are listed as endangered species while 51 others are critically endangered. Over the last ten years, researchers have described more than a hundred species living in the Western Ghats, including rare ones, like the Indian purple frog.
This species is nowhere else to be found except here. This frog is the only one known to live in an evolutionary lineage which dates back to the Jurassic. SD Biju, a biologist and head of the Systematics Lab with the Department of Environmental Studies at0 the University of Delhi, India, stated that the future of all these species of frogs is uncertain because more than 32% of all the frogs in the Western Ghats are threatened with extinction.
Image courtesy of: pixabay