New tiny frog species are the size of your thumbnail •

New tiny frog species are the size of your thumbnail

Today’s Image of the Day features a new frog species that has been discovered by a team of scientists in the forests of India. The frogs are so small in size that they could easily be mistaken for insects, both in appearance and behavior. So tiny, in fact, that these frogs can easily fit on top of your fingernail or a five-rupee coin.

Deep within the Western Ghats, the mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of India, scientists discovered a total of 7 new frog species. This particular mountain range is home to countless rare and endangered animals and plants.

The new frog species belong to the night frog group, Nyctibatrachus, and were found in the forests of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The frogs live on the forest floor and make insect-sounding calls at night. The findings were reported in a paper published in the journal PeerJ.

“These tiny frogs can sit comfortably on a coin or a thumbnail,” said Sonali Garg from the University of Delhi. “We were surprised to find that the miniature forms are in fact locally abundant and fairly common. They were probably overlooked by researchers because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls.”

Because the new frogs live outside of protected habitats and relatively close to human activity, there is already concern for their wellbeing.

“Over 32%, that is one-third of the Western Ghats frogs, are already threatened with extinction,” said Professor SD Biju of the University of Delhi. “Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritization.”

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Source: SD Biju, University of Delhi

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