Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scientists Discover Dozen New Species of Frogs in India

The Wayanad night frog; one of several newly discovered frogs in the Western Ghats

It has been recently reported that a team of scientists in India found a dozen new species of frogs along with three others which were thought to have been extinct. What is interesting about this discovery is that previously there was little attention in the conservation of amphibians, and more on animals like tigers and elephants. However, this recent study focused on animals that were extremely hard to spot. In this case, it was frogs who generally come out at dark during the monsoon season. The research team was led by Sathyabhama Das Biju, a biologist from University of Delhi. Together, they spent their time out in the dark damp forests listening to frogs and shining torches under rocks and across riverbeds. As part of their research, the team noted that half of the new species reproduce without any physical contact between both the sexes. Despite this, the parents actively guard their eggs, protecting them from predators, and bringing water to keep them moist. One of these newly discovered frogs included the meowing night frog, which was named for its unique catlike croak. Another was the Wayanad Night Frog, which was noted to be as large as a baseball. They were all discovered in the region of the Western Ghats in southern India.
A meowing night frog

This news is a clear and perfect example about how India is one of the few most biodiverse hotspots in the world. Scientists carrying out their research have discovered new species, which were never seen before. In my opinion, this is a clear indication to why it is important and crucial to protect and preserve such places from any form of encroachment. Some of the animals play a major role in judging the health of the environment. According to Mr. Biju, the frogs are good indicators of climate change and pollutants in the environment. Unfortunately, the Global Wildlife Conservation states that 32 % of amphibians are threatened to extinction largely due to habitat loss and pollution. I firmly believe that if human encroachment towards any biodiverse hotspot is uncontrolled, then the wildlife, including the keystone species, will disappear. In the case of frogs, without their existance, how will we learn to help stop climate change? This is why, it is crucial for the world to know about the importance of such biodiverse hotspots and how they can help us in understanding any change in climate and how to prevent it from further changing.
A jog night frog guarding its eggs

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