Science

New Species of Thumbnail-Size Frogs Discovered In India

By Charles Omedo , Feb 22, 2017 01:27 AM EST
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Indian scientists have found the smallest frogs in the world - new frog species that can sit comfortably on your fingernail or coin. Four species of the new frogs were discovered in the Western Ghats of India, where three new species had earlier been found before. The frogs were found to belong to the genus Nyctibatrachus or night frogs after five years of extensive exploration.

Publishing their findings in the journal PeerJ, the research team was led by Professor SD of the University of Delhi - he had found over 80 species of new frogs and amphibians in India. Sonali Garg of the University of Delhi was also one of the scientists who researched the new frog species. A total of 28 species of the Nyctibatrachus frog species have now been discovered, and scientists say they developed between 70-80 years ago, the BBC reports.

Some of these tiny frogs are threatened with extinction

Professor SD Biju stated that nearly one-third of the tiny frog species in the Western Ghats, or 32% of this population, faces extinction crisis. Majority of these threats are posed by human beings encroaching into their natural habitats. He calls that the international community must mount an urgent conservation strategy to protect these threatened frogs and save them from extinction.

"This highly biodiverse region contains many unique amphibian species and the area is under increasing threats from human disturbance," Dr. Laurence Jarvis of Froglife organization in the UK told The Times of India. "The discovery of these new species will increase our understanding of the conservation priorities for amphibians in the region."

These frogs have unique DNA, features and peculiar night calls

The new tiny frogs were identified by their distinctive DNA, physical features and peculiar night call patterns. The tiny frogs only call to their mates in the middle of the night and live secretly on the forest floor, in marsh vegetation and in damp leaf litters. The extremely small frogs measure between 12.2 mm to 15.4 mm in size and continue to be studied in labs by natural scientists.

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