Years of hard work of a team of Indian scientists has finally paid off.
The scientists, led by scientist biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju of the University of Delhi who combed tropical mountain forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India (which are sweaty and full of mosquitoes, and in-navigable vegetation), for croaks every night for endangered frog species have finally discovered 12 new frog species plus three others thought to have been extinct.
Most of the frog species discovered by the Delhi university scientists are the Night frogs.
A big discovery for world as well:
The discovery which is bound to bring attention to India's amphibians and their role in gauging the health of the environment; is of great importance for the world as well.
Notably, worldwide, 32 percent of the world's known amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Largely because of habitat loss or pollution, the threat to the survival of amphibians, especially frogs, is a particularly gloomy scenario for the world; as Frogs are extremely important indicators not just of climate change, but also pollutants in the environment.
The discovery assumes even more importance as many of the newly found frogs in India are rare and are living in just a single area, a fact which makes the need for conservation efforts of the newly found endangered frog species extremely vital.
A bit about Night Frogs:
Wayanad night frog
Night frog are extremely hard to find, as they come out only at dark and during the monsoon season, living either in fast-flowing streams or on moist forest ground. Hence finding them requires a lot of time and effort. According to Mr. Biju, the teams used to have all nighters for weeks in row, sitting in dark, damp forests listening for frog sounds and shining flashlights under rocks and across riverbeds.
But the good thing is, the scientists have now fully confirmed there great feat by confirming the new species by description (classifying new species on the lines of Genus and Specie) as well as genetics.
Jog Night Frog
The 12 new species include the meowing night frog, whose croak sounds more like a cat's call, the jog night frog, unique in that both the males and females watch over the eggs, and the Wayanad night frog, which grows to about the size of a baseball or cricket ball.
Three other species were rediscovered, including the Coorg night frog described 91 years ago, after scientists "had completely ignored it, thinking they were long extinct."
Meowing Night Frog
The discoveries are published in the latest issue of international taxonomy journal Zootaxa — bring the known number of frogs in India to 336. But 336 is just half the rare frog species found in India, informs Mr. Biju; further underlining that, none of India's amphibians are yet being studied for biological compounds that could be of further use in science. Mr. Biju is credited with discovering dozens of new Indian frog species during his 35-year career.