Mysterious New Frog Discovered in Roadside Puddle in India

The "secretive" frog appears only four days a year to breed and has been found in just one location.

frog
A new frog, not pictured, has been discovered in the Western Ghats region of India. (CC BY-SA 4.0)
By Chase Hill / February 16, 2019 5:00 am

Hidden within small pools of water next to a road in the Western Ghats region of India lives a secretive genus of frog that researchers have only recently discovered.

According to the BBC, the new genus is named Mysticellus, a word derived from Latin meaning “mysterious and diminutive.”

The narrow-mouthed frog was discovered by Sonali Garg, a PhD student at Delhi University, and her supervisor SD Biju. The pair found the frog in a hotspot ripe with animal and plant life.

“Our discovery of this new frog genus from one of the most explored and researched regions in the Western Ghats indicates that documentation of amphibians in this globally recognised biodiversity hotspot is still far from being complete,” Garg explained.

The secretive amphibian was overlooked for years because “it appears for less than four days for breeding activities and lives a secretive lifestyle for the rest of the year,” the PhD student explained.

“At the same time, Indian amphibians face various extinction threats, especially due to habitat loss and degradation. The only known population of the new genus is found in a wayside area disturbed with vehicular movement, plantation activities and human settlements,” Garg said. She hopes the site will be preserved so the frogs can be protected.

Western Ghats has been a hotbed for biological discovery. In recent years scientists have made some amazing discoveries: a tree frog thought to be extinct and new tadpoles that burrow through sand were found in 2016.

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