Two New Frog Species Discovered In India

Two frogs, named after Richard Henry Beddome and Freddie Mercury have been discovered in India by a team of independent herpetologists in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The team, led by Robin Kurian Abraham and Dr. Anil Zachariah told the Epoch Times that the two species, Mercurana myristicapalustris and the second, Beddomixalus bijui are closely related and are unique in that they reproduce entirely differently than other members of frogs in their family. The frogs spread their eggs on moist grassy locations near swamps. The eggs then end up in the swamp thanks in part to monsoon showers, where they turn into tadpoles.

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Asian water monitor

Mercurana myristicapalustris. Photo by Ansil B. R.
Click image to enlarge
Asian water monitor

Beddomixalus bijui. Photo by Ansil B. R.

Mercurana myristicapalustris was named after British singer Freddie Mercury, who apparently spent most of his childhood in Panchagni, a hilly area in the northern regions of the Western Ghats. The second frog was named after British botanist and military officer Richard Henry Beddome, who described a variety of species in the Western Ghats while serving as a Chief Conservator of Forests during the Madras Presidency, the paper reports.

The male Mercurana myristicapalustris has a rough textured skin that is rusty brown in coloration and features small black spots on its skin surface. Abraham discovered the frog in the western foothills of the Agasthyamalai Hills, the southernmost hill cluster in the Western Ghats.

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The male Beddomixalus bijui  is reddish brown in coloration and features two yellowish-cream colored longitudinal stripes that run in parallel down the frog's back. It was discovered by Zachariah in the southern Western Ghats, in the High Ranges near Munnar.

The herpetologists told the paper that the region in which Mercurana myristicapalustris is located, the Myristica swamp ecosystem, is highly threatened due to deforestation and other activites.

An abstract of the paper is published in the journal Zootaxa.

Categories: Wild Frogs & Amphibians