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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Delhi University scientists discover new species of frog in Arunachal Pradesh

Discovered on the Adi hills in Arunachal Pradesh, the new frog species has been named Adi Cascade Frog (Amolops Adicola).

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: August 20, 2021 7:32:47 am
Cascade frogs are named so because of their preference of small waterfalls or cascades in flowing hill streams, the biologists said. (File)

A team of researchers from Delhi University (DU), along with biologists from the Wildlife Institute of India and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, USA, have discovered a new species of cascade frog in Arunachal Pradesh. It has been named after the indigenous Adi tribe and the hills they inhabit.

Discovered on the Adi hills in Arunachal Pradesh, the new frog species has been named Adi Cascade Frog (Amolops Adicola). The hills are home to the Adi tribe. The literal meaning of Adi is “hill” or “mountain top”, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Natural History, London, in a scientific article titled ‘Phylogenetic position of the poorly known montane cascade frog Amolops Monticola (Ranidae) and description of a new closely related species from Northeast 2 India’.

Professor S D Biju from DU, who is one of the authors of the article, said, “This study is once again a testament of how little is known about the most threatened animal groups, frogs, in northeastern India. Many frogs in this region are reported to occur widely but, in fact, have relatively small geographical ranges and require special attention for conservation before they go extinct forever. Northeast India is a treasure house of species still unknown to science.”

Researchers said the Adi hills were historically known as Abor hills. The discovery of the new species was made when the biologists were “investigating a group of medium to large sized Cascade Frogs (scientifically belonging to genus Amolops) from Northeast India over the last five years”.

“The new species was discovered while revisiting the century-old Adi expedition in the year 2018 and named after the land of Adi tribe in Arunachal Pradesh where this species dwells, particularly during the post-monsoon season,” said Dr Abhijit Das from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Cascade frogs are named so because of their preference of small waterfalls or cascades in flowing hill streams, the biologists said.

“The genus Amolops is one of the largest groups of ranid frogs (family Ranidae) with currently 73 known species that are widely distributed across Northeast and North India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, through Indochina, to the Malaya Peninsula,” they said in a statement.

The new species was identified based on multiple criteria, including “external morphology, DNA, and calling pattern”.

“The study also resolved the century-old taxonomic confusions surrounding the identity of another cascade frog species, Amolops Monticola, which was discovered from the Sikkim Himalayas 150 years ago. These discoveries have important implications on the taxonomy and geographical distribution of several other members of this group found in India and the neighbouring regions of China,” the biologists said.

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