A team led by KP Dinesh, from Zoological Survey of India, Pune; Nirmal Kulkarni of Mhadei Research Centre, Goa; Priyanka Swami of Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and P Deepak of Mount Carmel College, Bangalore have published their findings on a new species of large fejervaryan frog named ‘Fejervarya goemchi’ in the recent edition of the Records of the Zoological Survey of India. NT BUZZ finds more
SHERAS FERNANDES | NT BUZZ
Frogs play a key role in many food webs, both as predators as well as prey. While there are few that have been identified, many more are yet to be recognised. A team led by KP Dinesh, from Zoological Survey of India, Pune has identified a new species and named it ‘Fejervarya goemchi’ after the state of Goa where the species was discovered. After the tiny Fejerverayan frog ‘Fejervarya gomantaki’ discovered in 2015 by KP Dinesh and Nirmal Kulkarni of Mhadei Research Centre, this is the latest species identified by the team.
It is not uncommon to hear a frog croak during the monsoon season or find one near human habitat but the Fejervarya goemchi measuring 41.0 to 46.0 millimetres is found with peak activity from the onset of the monsoon to post monsoon in the highland plateaus of the Western Ghats. “Many frogs sitting next to water bodies, making calls to attract females for mating and breeding are large sized terrestrial fejervaryan frogs,” says Nirmal. He adds: “Although most of these frogs are terrestrial, they need water bodies to continue breeding and for their survival.”
These terrestrial frogs belong to the amphibian genus Fejervarya of the family Dicroglossidae and are commonly known as either ‘cricket frogs’ or ‘fejervaryan frogs’. “These frogs ranging in size from small (19 millimetres) to large (56 millimetres) are distributed throughout Asia. Most fejervaryan frogs are morphologically very similar and difficult to identify on the basis of external characteristics alone, creating taxonomic uncertainty in terms of names, identification and systematics,” says Nirmal.
“Most fejervaryan species in South and South-East Asia are cryptic and difficult to identify on the basis of morphology alone. The authors have used a combination of morphology, geographic distribution range and molecular methods to describe the new species. In addition, the authors provide an overview of the systematics of the group and recommend additional sampling across the Asian continent,” says Nirmal. He says that presently the new species is known to be found in the high elevation areas of lateritic plateaus, temporary water bodies and paddy fields of the state.
Nirmal says that now that the species has been discovered more detailed studies of this species need to be conducted to map its distribution range and understand its biology.