Researchers from St Anthony’s College, Shillong, and the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered three new species of Cascade frogs in Arunachal Pradesh.
The findings were published in the recent edition of the research journal, Records of the Zoological Survey of India.
Scientifically all the three new species belong to the true frog family Ranidae, and these cascade dwelling frogs are classified under the genus Amolops.
These new species are named as Amolops chanakya, Amolops tawang and Amolops terraorchis and these three species were collected earlier from three different locations of Arunachal Pradesh between 2018 and 2019, from Dirang, Tawang and the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary respectively.
The team that made these discoveries included MA Laskar of St Anthony’s College, Bhaskar Saikia and Bikramjit Sinha of ZSI Shillong and KP Dinesh and Shabnam Ansari of ZSI Pune.
Amolops terraorchis literally refers to the one from ‘the land of orchids’. Sessa Orchid Sanctuary is the first such protected landscape in the world dedicated to the conservation of orchid diversity.
Amolops chanakya was named after Chanakya (or Kautilya/Vishnugupta), a 4th century BC Indian scholar who was instrumental in the establishment of the Maurya Empire and the overthrow of the Nanda Empire of Pataliputra (now Patna). Known for his great military tactics and administrative skills, Chanakya is also famous for his Sanskrit treatise, Arthashastra.
The ZSI is mandated to survey and inventorise the faunal diversity of India and as such, the findings of these new species are also a part of their regular research work. Although the species of Amolops are morphologically cryptic, wherein identification of species by morphology and colour alone is difficult, in the present study, DNA barcoding tools are used to justify the new species designations. Adding to this, for the first time phylogenetic tree for the species of Amolops from India has been provided including the molecular data from the neighbouring country species.
Leave a Reply