Three new species of Cascade frogs discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and St. Anthony’s College, Shillong, have discovered three new species of cascade frogs in the Indian Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh.
GOALPARA: Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and St. Anthony’s College, Shillong, have discovered three new species of cascade frogs in the Indian Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh. The findings were published in the most recent edition of the research journal, Records of the Zoological Survey of India. Scientifically, all 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 Amolops chanakya, Amolops tawang, and Amolops terraorchis, and these three species were collected earlier from three different locations in Arunachal Pradesh between 2018 and 2019.
Wherein Amolops chanakya was collected from Dirang, Amolops tawang was collected from Tawang, and Amolops terraorchis was collected from Sessa Orchid Sanctuary. The naming of these new species tells an interesting story. While Amolops Tawang is named simply based on the district in which this species was discovered, the name Amolops terraorchis literally refers to the one from ‘the land of orchids’ (terra-land, orchis-orchid, in Latin), suggesting its discovery from Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, which is the first such protected landscape in the world dedicated to the conservation of orchid diversity.
ZSI is mandated to survey the faunal diversity of India, and as such, the findings of these new species are also 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, a phylogenetic tree for the species of Amolops from India has been provided, including the molecular data from the species of the neighboring countries.
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