New Species Of Night Frog Discovered In India’s Western Ghats

January 1, 2018

A new species of night frog has been discovered in the Western Ghats’ Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary. The frog, Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi, is named after Dr. Mewa Singh, a professor at the University of Mysore who has contributed to behavioral ecology and primatology and to the conservation of the primates in India, according to the paper describing the new species. 

Mewa Singh’s night frog

Keerthi Krutha, Neelesh Dahanukar and Sanjay Molur

Mewa Singh’s night frog’s closest related species is the Athirappilly night frog, which was discovered in early 2017, and the Kempholey night frog.

Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi, or Mewa Singh’s night frog, is a light brown in coloration and its belly is off white. It has slightly wrinkled skin. It differs from its known congeners due to its small adult size, head that is equal to or slightly wider than it is long, and prominent granular projections on much of its skin.  

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Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi was first seen in a stream with riparian cover, and then moving alongside a wall near the Peruvannamuzhi Dam. The researchers, who believe the frog is restricted to a small area, used tissue samples from 10 specimens, and using genetic methods, determined that the frog was indeed a new species. 

“It is an interesting species because of this currently-known restricted distribution,” the paper’s lead author, Sanjay Molur of Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu) told The Hindu. “We will need more surveys to understand these frogs better.”

Mewa Singh’s night frog’s closest related species is Athirappilly night frog (Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis), which was discovered in early 2017, and the Kempholey night frog (Nyctibatrachus kempholeyensis). 

The full paper, “Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi, A New Species of Night Frog (Amphibia: Nyctibatrachidae) from Western Ghats of Kerala, India,” and authored by Keerthi Krutha, Neelesh Dahanukar and Sanjay Molur, can be read on the Journal of Threatened Taxa website.

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