New skittering frog species discovered in coastal K'taka
This new species of skittering frog (Euphlyctis karaavali), measuring up to 11 cm, was first recorded in 2015 at Sanikatta village in Kumta taluk, Uttara Kannada district.
The frog is named after Karaavali, the coastal region of Karnataka, and is considered to be endangered due to its restricted geographic area. The frog belongs to a group known as “skittering frogs,” because of their habit of floating on water and skittering away when disturbed.
Currently, there are only seven known species in this genus and are found as far west as the Southwestern Arabian Peninsula through South East Asia to the east, point out researchers.
The team which found the new species comprised Priti H, Naik C R, Seshadri K S, Ramit Singal, Vidisha M K, Ravikanth G and Gururaja K V. Their paper appeared in the December 25 issue of Asian Herpetological Research.
The authors highlighted that the frog was found along the coastal plains of Karnataka in Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. The new species is, however, already under threat from development activities like expansion of highways and conversion of land to non-agricultural purposes.
Seshadri, a research scholar from the National University of Singapore who is currently working on frogs of the Western Ghats, visited Sanikatta to observe the frog and confirmed the new finding.
Priti, a student at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment and the lead author of the paper, carried out molecular analysis and confirmed that the species was new. Seshadri recorded and analysed the sounds made by the frog and found that they resembled those of a White-throated Kingfisher.
Gururaja, renowned frog researcher at Gubbi Labs and faculty member at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, conducted the bioacoustic analysis of the animal’s calls which ascertained that the frog species was indeed new to science.