New horned frog species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

The frog species has been named after the state’s Apatani tribe – Xenophrys apatani.
The newly discovered species of forest-dwelling horned frog at the Tale Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.
The newly discovered species of forest-dwelling horned frog at the Tale Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.(Photo | Express)

GUWAHATI: A new species of forest-dwelling horned frog has been discovered at the Tale Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Shillong, in collaboration with their colleagues from ZSI, Pune, and ZSI, Itanagar.

The frog species has been named after the state’s Apatani tribe – Xenophrys apatani. This discovery marks a significant addition to India's herpeto-faunal diversity.

The study, led by Bhaskar Saikia and Bikramjit Sinha of ZSI, Shillong, included KP Dinesh and A Shabnam of ZSI, Pune, and Ilona Jacinta Kharkongor of ZSI, Itanagar.

“This finding overturns an earlier erroneous report of the Maoson horned frog (Xenophrys maosonensis) in India reported by researchers of ZSI, Shillong in 2019. The revised conclusion regarding the identity of the species was done after further analysis revealed substantial genetic disparities between the Indian specimen and X. maosonensis from Vietnam and China, prompting a re-evaluation,” Saikia said.

According to him, the discovery of Xenophrys apatani underscores India’s rich biodiversity and highlights the importance of rigorous taxonomic studies in understanding the country's natural heritage.

“The new frog species is named after the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, which predominantly resides in the Lower Subansiri Valley of Arunachal Pradesh and where Tale Wildlife Sanctuary is located, in recognition of their ingenuity in the conservation of wild flora and fauna,” Saikia said.

The researchers also provided insights into the biogeographic distribution of Xenophrys species in India, which are distributed along the Eastern Himalayas and Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspots. The findings are expected to guide future conservation efforts and enhance understanding of amphibian evolution in the region.

The findings of the research were published in the latest issue of the Records of the Zoological Survey of India.

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