Is it a Frog or a Cat?: Newly Discovered Amphibians in India

At Frogs Are Green, we always enjoy the stories of newly discovered frog species and the re-discovery of frog species thought to be extinct. These stories counterbalance some of the less optimistic news stories about amphibians these days.

Recently in India, twelve new frog species were discovered, and three species were rediscovered. Scientists with Global Wildlife Conservation, led by biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju of the University of Delhi, spent years searching at night in the forests of Western Ghats, in Kerala, listening for frog calls.

Wayanad Night Frog India

Wayand Night Frog. Photo by Sathyabhama Das Biju/Global Wildlife Conservation from NationalGeographic.com

Some of the newly discovered frogs include:

The Meowing Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus poocha): Its croak sounds more like a cat than a frog.

The Jog’s Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus jog): Both males and females look after the eggs.

The Wayanad Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus grandis): It grows to about the size of a baseball and leaps from rock to rock.

The Coorg night frog (Nyctibatrachus sanctipalustris): This frog was described 91 years ago and was thought to be extinct, but has now been rediscovered.

The discoveries were published in the latest issue of international taxonomy journal Zootaxa, bringing the known number of frog species in India to 336.

Many of the newly found frogs in India are rare and are living in just a single area and so are especially vulnerable and will need rigorous protection. But most conservation in India is focused on the two most charismatic animals – the elephant and the tiger. According to Dr. Biju, there is little interest in amphibians, not much funding, and frog research is not easy.

In some parts of India, however, frogs are revered. They symbolize rain and prosperity and the end of a drought. We hope that these amazing amphibians are similarly revered and get the protection they need.

To see a slideshow of the frogs on Huffington Post, click here.

Thank you to Frogs Are Green friend Dana Breaux Kennedy for pointing us to the article about the newly discovered frogs in India.