A team of Delhi University researchers has discovered a new frog species in the Western Ghats and named it after former DU Vice-Chancellor and plant geneticist Deepak Pental.
The new frog species, Minervarya Pentali, was discovered from the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, extending along the southwest coast of the Indian Peninsula, and the research team has stated that this new species is endemic to the southern Western Ghats.
“We discovered it from wayside vegetation at multiple localities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while surveying amphibians during the monsoon season. This species is also among the smallest known Minervarya frogs, which is probably one of the reasons it was overlooked until now,” said Dr Sonali Garg, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at DU.
The study has been conducted over a period of ten years on the genus Minervarya, which the research team has claimed resolved the identity and taxonomic status of all known members of the genus from Peninsular India.
“It is a great privilege to name a frog species after Prof Deepak Pental, the former Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi, in appreciation of his tremendous support and encouragement for setting-up of the Systematics Lab at University of Delhi — where research leading to the discovery and description of nearly one-fourth of all known Indian amphibians has been carried out,” said Professor S D Biju, Head of the Department of Environmental Studies at DU.
Professor Pental is a noted researcher whose primary area of interest is crop breeding. He was the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University from 2005 to 2010. “It is very generous of Professor Biju, he thinks that I did quite a bit for this research. I am not a naturist but he thought me to be worthy. But it is all his work and he deserves more recognition than me. He is a natural scientist, has discovered many frog species, is a passionate environmentalist, goes to the field and works for months and years. We need work like that,” said professor Pental.