New Species of Dancing frogs discovered in Western Ghats

Micrixalus species
Micrixalus species

The dancing frogs officially known by the scientific name Micrixalus kottigeharensis are found in the western ghats belt of Maharshtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The region is very rich in biodiversity and has about 180 endemic amphibian species.

Delhi University professor Sathyabhama Biju discovered the frog species. He previously was credited for discovery of purple frogs. A total of 14 species were discovered which almost doubles the number of species known till date.

The species were identified by using a combination of physical features and analysis of molecular DNA markers, and the study was reported in Ceylon Journal of Science.

The name is because of the habit of male frogs that seemingly dance in order to attract females. The technical term used is foot flagging. Generally, male frogs are known by a distinctive cracking sound which acts as an attraction for the female frogs. The frogs are tiny in size and therefore the croaking sound is also of diminished decibels. Perhaps, nature endowed them with the unique dancing ability to recompense for the missing decibels.

These frog species are under threat from the drying of river sources and because of anthropogenic interference.

The species evolved millions of years ago and has been around since the age of dinosaurs.

Also view this video on DANCING FROGS of INDIA – Discovery of 14 new species. Scientists have discovered 14 new species in the Indian Dancing Frog genus Micrixalus, from the mountains of Western Ghats, India. A study that was led by Prof SD Biju from University of Delhi.

Image credit: Photograph by L. Shyamal, Wynaad, 2006

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