A new genus and species of narrow-mouthed frogs (family Microhylidae) was discovered from a temporary wayside puddle in Peninsular India. Amphibian researchers from University of Delhi Sonali Garg and Prof. S. D. Biju discovered the new frog.
The findings were published in a scientific article titled ‘New microhylid frog genus from Peninsular India with Southeast Asian affinity suggests multiple Cenozoic biotic exchanges between India and Eurasia’ in the current issue of the Nature Research Group journal Scientific Reports.
This study was in part funded by grants from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Department of Science and Technology of Government of India and University of Delhi. The researchers have named the new genus Mysticellus and the new species as Mysticellus franki (honouring evolutionary biologist Prof Franky Bossuyt from Vrije Universiteit Brussel).
It is indeed surprising that an entirely new genus of frog went unnoticed until now. Unlike most new discoveries that have resulted from explorations in forested areas, this new frog was discovered from a temporary wayside puddle in one of the most explored and researched areas of the Western Ghats.
Sonali Garg said that Indian amphibians face various extinction threats, especially due to habitat loss and degradation. The only known population of the new genus is found in a wayside area disturbed with vehicular movement, plantation activities and human settlements. The specific site needs to be preserved to protect this frog, she said.
Sonali Garg has been working on Western Ghats frogs for over six years and has conducted extensive field studies in many remote forests in search of frogs. She is the only Indian woman to have described 40 new species and two new genera of frogs. She is a PhD candidate at University of Delhi. Her research findings have featured in Nature, BBC, National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, among many others.
S. D. Biju is currently Professor at University of Delhi and his research focuses on systematics and molecular phylogeny. He is the research supervisor of Sonali Garg. He has been extensively studying Indian amphibians for nearly three decades.
READ THE JOURNAL REPORT: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-38133-x