Researchers in India have found a dozen new frog species belonging to the night frog group, named for their nocturnal habits, and rediscovered three species, one of which had not been seen in nearly a century. The findings appeared in the journal Zootaxa on Sept. 15.
Night frogs are a group endemic to India and require either fast moving rivers or moist forest floor for breeding. The researchers write that half of the newly discovered species reproduce without any physical contact between the sexes, with the female depositing her eggs on a leaf and the males later fertilizing them. Despite their chaste procreation, both parents are active guardians for the eggs, bringing them water to prevent drying out and warding off predators.
All the frogs were spotted in a region known as the Western Ghats, a mountain range than runs along the western coast of India that has been identified as one of the ten hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world. Because of the small area they occupy, at least six of the new species are sensitive to habitat loss and will require immediate steps toward conservation.
Images exclusive copyright: S. D. Biju, www.frogindia.org