1 Tahrcountry Musings: New frog species discovered in India’s rocky wastelands

Friday, March 11, 2016

New frog species discovered in India’s rocky wastelands

A new frog species Microhyla laterite has been discoverd in laterite habitats in and around the coastal town of Manipal, India. The frog, which is the size of a thumbnail, was discovered by a team of researchers from India and the National University of Singapore (NUS). The research team was led by Mr Seshadri K S, a PhD student from the Department of Biological Sciences at the NUS. The frog was delimited using molecular, morphometric and bioacoustics comparisons. The frog has a call that can be easily mistaken for that of a cricket. 
The laterite rock formations date as far back as the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and are considered to be wastelands in-spite of their intriguing geological history.
The researchers sign off saying “With molecular tools becoming increasingly reliable and affordable; studies could shed light into the population dynamics of these small frogs found in isolated and severely fragmented landscapes. In context of laterite habitats, studies have estimated the early diversification period of Microhylidae to be at the late Cretaceous period and that of Microhyla to be in the lower Tertiary period; signifying that several lineages survived through the KT boundary. Since Mlaterite appears to be restricted to laterite rock formations along the West coast, further research on determining divergence times of Mlaterite and testing for an association with laterite formations would enable a better understanding of biogeography, systematics and paleo-ecology. This will enable us to explore interesting evolutionary ecology questions inMicrohyla.”

Journal Reference:
K. S. Seshadri, Ramit Singal, H. Priti, G. Ravikanth, M. K. Vidisha, S. Saurabh, M. Pratik, Kotambylu Vasudeva Gururaja. Microhyla laterite sp. nov., A New Species of Microhyla Tschudi, 1838 (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae) from a Laterite Rock Formation in South West IndiaPLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (3): e0149727

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