Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Zoological Survey of India
A team of scientists from the University of Delhi and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) discovered a new species of frog in Arunachal Pradesh and named it Microhyla eos.
- The scientists discovered the new species from riparian habitats in a primary evergreen forest in the Namdapha tiger reserve, which is the easternmost protected area in the country.
- It is described as the 50th member of the genus Microhyla, a group of narrow-mouthed frogs commonly known as Rice Frogs or Chorus Frogs, primarily and widely distributed in Asia.
- 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.
- The new species is named eos, after the mythological Greek goddess of dawn, personifying its habitat in Arunachal Pradesh which is popularly known as the Land of the Rising Sun or the Land of Dawn-lit Mountains.
- DNA analysis by the research team revealed that the closest relatives of Microhyla eos are in Southeast Asia rather than India.
The Northeast: A biodiversity hotspot
- The new 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.
- The Eastern Himalayas are an important part of the Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot, one of the 36 globally recognised regions known for high species diversity and endemism, as well as a high number of globallly threatened species.
- However, compared to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in peninsular India, the eastern Himalayas remain relatively overlooked and unexplored.
- The Northeastern region of India is often considered as a transition zone of faunal elements between the Indian subcontinent and the rest of Asia.
[Source: The Hindu, Down To Earth]