Western Ghats Current Affairs - 2020
Scientists from the University of Kerala have discovered a new species of long-legged, tree-dwelling crabs named Kani maranjandu in Western Ghats of Kerala.
It has been named after the Kani tribe in Kerala and are substantially different from other congeners (organisms within the same genus).
- Kani maranjandu is the first crab species of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab (species that lives in trees).
- Characteristic traits: Its upper shell is hard, its male abdominal structure and reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs (no other genus has).
Tags: Arboreal crab • Kani maranjadu crab • Kerala • Science and Technology • Western Ghats
Scientists have discovered four new species of miniature night frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail in Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot.
These species were discovered among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and Kerala Forest Department.
- Four new species of miniature night frogs are (i) Athirappilly Night Frog: It was discovered close to the Athirappilly waterfalls. (ii) Sabarimala Night Frog: It was discovered near the Sabarimala hill shrine. (iii) The Radcliffe’s Night frog and (iv) Kadalar Night Frog: They were reported from plantation areas.
- Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus, endemic to the Western Ghats. They make a distinctive chirping sound comparable to that of a cricket.
- These tiny amphibians are present in abundance in the region but were overlooked in the past because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls.
- They were confirmed as the new species with the help of integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed bioacoustics and morphological comparisons.
- Threats: Over 32% of the frog species in the Western Ghats are threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, 5 face considerable anthropogenic extinction threats and require immediate conservation.
- Ancient Group: Night Frogs represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago.
- Total Nyctibatrachus species: This discovery has taken the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species to 35, of which 20% are less than 18 mm in size (i.e. they are diminutive).
- As many as 103 new amphibian species were discovered from biodiversity rich Western Ghats region between 2006 and 2015.