Recently, Researchers from University of Delhi have named a newly-discovered frog species Minervarya Pentali after former vice chancellor and renowned plant geneticist Prof. Deepak Pental.
About Minervarya Pentali
- The new species was discovered from the globally recognised Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot that extends along the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula.
- The discovery was made during a comprehensive study on a considerably large, common, yet a confusing group of Indian frogs — genus Minervarya (common name: Minervaryan frogs).
- The newly-discovered species, named Minervarya Pentali, is endemic to the southern Western Ghats.
- This species is also among the smallest known Minervaryan frogs, which is probably one of the reasons it was overlooked until now.
- The new species – belonging to the family Dicroglossidae – was identified based on multiple criteria, such as external morphology, DNA and calling pattern. The study also resolved the identity and taxonomic status of all known members of the genus from peninsular India, in addition to clarifying the geographical ranges of species, and providing numerous new distribution records based on morphologically and genetically identified samples from a vast region.
- The amphibian diversity in this region is particularly remarkable as more than half of nearly 230 species of all known Indian species (~450 species) are found in the Western Ghats. Besides, over 90% of these are endemic to this region, which means they are not found anywhere else in the world.
- The new species, Minervarya Pentali (Pental’s Minervaryan frog), was discovered from wayside vegetation, very much inside and around towns and cities. Habitat loss, modification, and other anthropogenic threats can lead to a population decline or complete wiping out of this newly discovered species.
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