Meet the new burrowing frog from Bengaluru
Amphibian discoveries in India have been on the rise in the recent past, with most species discoveries being from biodiversity hot-spots or at least forested landscapes with green cover.
Amphibian discoveries in India have been on the rise in the recent past, with most species discoveries being from biodiversity hot-spots or at least forested landscapes with green cover. In an effort to document amphibians in the Deccan Plateau parts of Karnataka, P. Deepak and team encountered a new species of frog of burrowing frog from the outskirts of Bengaluru.
The species was named Sphaerotheca bengaluru, honoring Silicon city. The new species was described based on morphological and genetic differences with known species of burrowing frogs across South Asia. The research findings of the study were published in the international journal Zootaxa. Deepak is an Assistant professor, Mount Carmel College pursuing his doctoral degree from University of Mysore.
Historically, Bengaluru was known as garden city for its lush green cover and a large number of fresh water bodies. With a rise in urbanization, green cover has diminished and water resources have become scarce for 'ecological indicators' such as frogs. At present, the new species is reported from the peri urban zones of Bengaluru, which is dominated by agroecosystems mixed with dry deciduous vegetation without permanent water resources. However, more detailed field studies are needed to understand its distribution range and its natural history.
The discovery of the new species from the periphery of the Bengaluru city shows the importance of non-forested landscapes. This also provides an insight about the lacunae in the amphibian studies from the Deccan plateau region of Karnataka. In general, the amphibian diversity in the Deccan plateau is understudied compared to biodiversity hotspots like the Western Ghats. The new species highlight the lacunae in documentation of amphibians from the non-forested areas and the need to restore the habitats of frogs in Bengaluru.
"There is an urgent need to document the amphibians of urban as well as agro ecosystems to avoid nameless extinction as already there is an alarming rate of population decline globally,” said Dr. K. P. Dinesh, Scientist, Zoological Survey of India.