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Discovering the Fauna of Arunachal Pradesh: The Patkai Green Tree Frog (New Species)

05 Jun,2023 05:22 PM, by: Posy Lui
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Arunachal Pradesh is home to a brand-new frog species that was discovered by a team of researchers from the Namdapha Tiger Reserve (NTR), the Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden, Germany, and the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun. The frog, officially known as the Patkai green tree frog (Gracixalus patkaiensis), was discovered in 2022 while researchers were conducting herpetological research in Namdapha Tiger Reserve, the largest protected area in Northeast India. Their findings have been reported in the most recent volume of Vertebrate Zoology. The frog was named after the historic Patkai Hills area (where NTR lies), making it the sixth new frog species discovered in the NTR region.

The Namdapha Tiger Reserve's evergreen forest provides the Patkai green tree frog with a unique environment that includes a swampy area covered in cane, bamboo, rattan palms, ferns, and wild zingiber. The frog has been identified by the study team as the sixth novel frog species discovered in the NTR and so far exclusively known from the area. Until recently, the Gracixalus genus had only been known from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, southern China, and Myanmar.

The new species was characterised using morphological, genetic, and auditory evidence, as well as calling patterns. It is a small species with a body size of 23–26 mm, and its call is quite similar to that of insects. These frogs spawn in swampy places during the monsoon season. The Patkai frogs, unlike certain other Gracixalus species, do not have webbed fingers or toes. The family Phacophoridae is represented by 14 genera in India out of the 23 genera globally recognised. The genus Gracixalus Delorme, Dubois, Grosjean, & Ohler, 2005, includes small to medium-sized frogs (SVL: 20–41.6 mm), currently represented by 19 species globally. According to the study, its nearest relative, Gracixalus gracilipes, can be found in China, Thailand, and Vietnam, and their findings suggest that even in well-known areas of India, there are certainly more unknown species waiting to be identified.

In conclusion, the discovery of a new species in Arunachal Pradesh emphasises the significance of more research and study of the region's unique biodiversity. It emphasises the need for preserving and safeguarding our natural environment, particularly through the creation of protected areas and initiatives for efficient administration. In addition to aiding in worldwide conservation efforts, this type of study encourages local recognition and protection of less popular locations. We may assure the preservation of the natural environment for future generations only by continuing to understand its intricacies.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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