Tiny new frog discovered in India bypasses the free-swimming tadpole stage

September 07, 2012

A tiny new frog species has been discovered in the rainforests of India's Western Ghats.

The frog, named the Kakachi Shrub frog (Raorchestes kakachi), is endemic to the the region. It is described in the journal Zootaxa.

Raorchestes kakachi males attain a length of 2.5 cm (1 inch), while females can reach a length of 3.5 cm. Frogs of the Raorchestes are notable for bypassing the free-swimming tadpole stage of metamorphosis. The tadpole metamorphoses into frog inside the egg, avoiding the need for water.

Raorchestes kakachi (a) male (b) female. Courtesy of Seshadri
Raorchestes kakachi is the 183rd amphibian described from the Western Ghats. A number of previously unknown frogs have been described in India in recent years, many of which are at risk from habitat loss and other threats, according to Kadaba Shamanna Seshadri, an ecologist with the Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).

"Every year, over 10 new species of frogs has been described in India. Paradoxically enough, amphibians are on the decline across the world," Seshadri said in a statement. "We might simply be losing species that we never knew that they existed. In this backdrop, knowledge on the ecology and means to conserve these species is lacking and it is imperative to being studies in that direction."

CITATION: Seshadri. K.S., Gururaja. K.V., Aravind. N.A., 2012. A new species of Raorchestes (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae) from mid-elevation evergreen forests of the southern Western Ghats, India. Zootaxa 3410: 19–34.

Related articles

mongabay.com (September 07, 2012).

Tiny new frog discovered in India bypasses the free-swimming tadpole stage .