Rare Indian frogs rediscovered

Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog, Raorchestes chalazodes. Last seen in 1874. Rediscovered after 136 years

From IBN in India:

Five frog species rediscovered in India

Bahar Dutt, CNN-IBN

Updated Feb 14, 2011 at 02:21pm IST

New Delhi: Delhi University scientists have rediscovered five species of frogs [which had] not been seen since the last 50-100 years. The scientists were a part of a nationwide ambitious project to send out scientists, researchers and school children to look for 50 lost amphibians of India of which nothing is known since they were first described by scientists. Have they become extinct since then or have we simply not looked enough?

One of the species of frogs has got a striking green neon green body and black pupils with golden patches. But the frog, known as the Bubble Nest Frog, is very [rare] and has just been rediscovered after 100 years in the Kalakkad Tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu.

In Dehradun the Stream Frog, which was not seen for the last 30 years has now been rediscovered.

The man leading this expedition is frogman Dr Biju Das, a professor at Delhi University, who is credited with discovering an entirely new species in 2003, the Purple Frog.

At least 30 per cent of amphibians in India are facing extinction. The elegant Torrent Frog, recently rediscovered by Dr Biju and his team, is in fact losing its habitat to a hydroelectric dam in Kerala.

See also here.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2011) — A tropical frog — the only one of its kind in the world — is providing conservationists with exclusive insights into the genetic make-up of its closest endangered relatives: here.

The first nationwide survey of UK amphibian and reptiles has found that several of Britain’s most widespread species are in decline: here.

3 thoughts on “Rare Indian frogs rediscovered

  1. Frog lost for hundred years found in India

    G.S. MUDUR

    New Delhi, Feb. 16: A flourescent green frog with ash-blue thighs and black pupils with patches of gold last observed 136 years ago is among five lost amphibians from India rediscovered by zoologists.

    The zoologists from several academic institutions searching India’s forests for amphibians documented in the past but unseen for decades have rediscovered five frogs, including the Chalazodes bubble-nest frog last reported from Travancore in 1874.

    “It’s got a colour combination I have never ever seen in 27 years of studying amphibians,” said Sathyabhama Das Biju, a zoologist at Delhi University, who is also the coordinator of the nationwide search for lost amphibians.

    The Indian effort was part of a search for missing amphibians in 21 countries launched in August last year by the non-governmental body Conservation International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

    Biju and two Bangalore-based conservation researchers R. Ganeshan and K.S. Seshadri found the Chalazodes bubble-nest frog in the forests of Kodayar near the Kalakkad Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu on a November night.

    As they walked in the dark with torchlights using sticks to lift clumps of bushes, they were drawn to a cluster of bamboo reeds by the call of what sounded like a frog. A few minutes later, they spotted it on the reed about five feet above the ground.

    “It is a secretive animal — it spends most of its time hiding inside the bamboo reeds. It comes out during breeding but lays eggs inside the reeds,” Biju told The Telegraph. The scientists observed one juvenile and three adults.

    A British herpetologist had documented the species from Travancore in 1874, Biju said. Scientists believe this frog does not have a free-swimming tadpole stage, but completes development inside the egg.

    The amphibian search has also yielded the Anamalai dot frog, the Dehradun stream frog, the Silent Valley tropical frog, and the Elegant tropical frog — each of which had last been observed decades ago and were classified as missing.

    “Our knowledge of what we have to conserve is poor. Searching for lost species is an important step towards understanding what we have left to conserve. If we want to save frogs, we first have to find them,” Biju said.

    Scientists have been concerned about what appears to be a global decline in the population of amphibians. The 21-country search looked for 100 missing amphibians. It succeeded in finding only four of the 100 missing amphibians. However, it led to the rediscovery of the five amphibians from India and the rediscovery of six frogs in Haiti, including one named Mozart’s frog last seen in 1991.

    “Rediscoveries provide reason for hope for these species… but the vast majority of species that teams were looking for were not found,” said Robin Moore, an amphibian expert at the Washington DC-based Conservation International.

    Amphibians are important to humans — they eat and control populations of insects that spread disease to humans or damage crops, and they help maintain healthy freshwater ecosystems, according to Conservation International. The chemicals in amphibian skins have been used in the search for new candidate drugs, including one molecule that seems to be 200 times more potent than morphine, it said.

    Biju and his colleagues from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the Zoological Survey of India, and other institutions plan to continue the search for missing amphibians in northeastern India in the coming months.



  2. In search of lost species

    P. Venugopal

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Several groups of scientists and naturalists have spread out to the forests and marshes across the country this monsoon in a coordinated expedition to try to locate some 50 species of amphibians that had eluded sighting since the time they were first reported.

    “These species have been missing for periods ranging from 16 years to 169 years,” said S.D. Biju of the University of Delhi, in an e-mail message to The Hindu on Saturday.

    He is coordinating this expedition known as Lost Amphibians of India, supported by the Amphibian Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Kerala Forest Department and the University of Delhi.

    The search is taking place simultaneously in 15 States, because the monsoon season is the best time for locating frogs that erupt into a croaking chorus after the rains.

    “Our teams have already conducted eight expeditions, coming out with some encouraging results. We have drawn up plans for 25 more expeditions during this monsoon in areas where these species may still be surviving unnoticed,” Dr. Biju said.

    The project is aimed not only at locating the lost species, but also proposing measures to conserve them and their habitats.

    India is a mega centre of amphibian diversity, being home to more than 350 species. Sixty-seven per cent of these species cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Although new finds point to the clear possibility of the existence of many undiscovered species in the country, a worrying number of the already discovered species are not to be spotted nowadays in their originally reported habitats.

    Amphibians have lived on earth for a period that is 5,000 times more than the period of human existence. “They are the barometers of the health of the environment. Their fast rate of extinction in the recent decades, therefore, is a serious omen,” Dr. Biju said.



  3. Pingback: New Indian frog species discovered | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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