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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

In Andamans, scientists hit upon new frog genus

Researchers said Rohanix-alus is the “20th recognised genus of the family Rhacopho-ridae and currently comprises eight out of the 422 known Old World treefrog species found in Asia and Africa”.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: November 13, 2020 7:49:27 am
The new genus ‘Rohanixalus’ is named after Sri Lankan taxonomist Rohan Pethiyagoda.

A study led by Prof S D Biju of Delhi University, along with researchers from India, Indonesia and China, has reported a new genus of the Old World treefrog family Rhacophoridae — the first report of a tree frog species (Striped Bubble-nest frog) from the Andaman Islands.

The new genus ‘Rohanixalus’ is named after Sri Lankan taxonomist Rohan Pethiyagoda. The findings were published in an article titled ‘New insights on the systematics and reproductive behaviour in tree frogs of the genus Feihyla, with description of a new related genus from Asia (Anura, Rhacophoridae)’ in the current issue of Zootaxa, an international journal of animal systematics.

“Our discovery of a treefrog member from Andaman Islands is unexpected and once again highlights the importance of dedicated faunal surveys and explorations for proper documentation of biodiversity in a… country like India. This finding also uncovers an interesting new distribution pattern of treefrogs that provides evidence for faunal exchange between Andamans and the Indo-Burma region,” said Biju.

The scientists studied “external morphology of adults and tadpoles, phylogeny, calls, and breeding biology of several treefrog species widely distributed across South, Southeast, and East Asia” to confirm that it is a new genus.

Researchers said Rohanix-alus is the “20th recognised genus of the family Rhacopho-ridae and currently comprises eight out of the 422 known Old World treefrog species found in Asia and Africa”.

They are characterised by a “rather small and slender body (2-3 cm long), a pair of contrastingly coloured lateral lines on either side of the body, minute brown speckles scattered throughout the upper body, light green-coloured eggs laid in arboreal bubble-nests, and several unique behavioural traits including maternal egg attendance”.

Besides DU, the team had researchers from Zoological Survey of India – Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, and National Centre for Cell Science, in addition to researchers from Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Chengdu Institute of Biology (China) and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand).

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