A team of scientists from Delhi University and the Zoological Survey of India have discovered a new species of rice frog or chorus frog in Arunachal Pradesh.
Named ‘eos’ after the mythological Greek Goddess of Dawn, “personifying the region where the new species was discovered, Arunachal Pradesh”, the frog belongs to genus Microhyla — “a group of narrow-mouthed frogs that is primarily and widely distributed in Asia” — that currently comprises 49 recognised species.
The study by S D Biju and Sonali Garg (DU), Gopinathan Maheswaran (Zoological Survey of India) and Rachunliu G Kamei (Natural History Museum, London) was published Monday in Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed international journal.
The frog was discovered from “riparian habitats in a primary evergreen forest” called Rani Jheel in Namdapha Tiger Reserve of Arunachal Pradesh, the easternmost protected area in the country.
Scientists said the frog was “confirmed to represent a distinct new species after detailed comparison of both DNA and morphology with all previously known members of the group found across South, Southeast, and East Asia” and was “formally described as the 50th member of the narrow-mouthed chorus frog genus microhyla known from the world”.
They said microhyla eos “strikingly differs from other narrow-mouthed chorus frogs by characters such as its size, body shape, colouration and markings, foot webbing, and digit tip morphology”.
“Our discovery shows that the actual number of frog species in Northeast India, even in the relatively common and well-studied groups, is higher than current estimates. More extensive studies are required to scientifically identify and describe the Northeastern frogs, which are already facing extinction threats from various human activities,” said Biju, the lead author of the study who is also known as the Frogman of India.