Four new fingernail-sized frog species have been discovered in India.
Unlike larger frogs, the newly discovered lack webbing between their toes and often live in leaf litter and marshes.
The tiny frogs have not been discovered until now because of their size and hidden habitats. To scientists surprise, the amphibians were found to be quite common and abundant in the local regions.
The frogs emit a unique insect-like call that resembles the sound of a chirping cricket. This imitation is another way the amphibians have been able to disguise themselves for so long.
Researchers from the University of Delhi discovered an additional three frog species of a larger variety in the same genus, Nyctibatrachus. The findings led scientists to believe that a much larger number of night frogs are miniature than they were formerly aware of.
“Previously, the Night Frog genus comprised of 28 recognized species of which only three were miniature sized,” the researchers stated in an interview with PeerJ. “Now the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species has increased to 35, of which 20 percent are diminutive in size.”
All seven species were found in the Western Ghats, but some of their habitats are in unprotected areas, resulting in an uncertain future for the tiny frogs.
Image by Susan E Adams, CC BY-SA 2.0
Chamberlain Smith is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.