Sunday, July 3, 2011

[Herpetology • 2010] Raorchestes resplendens • Ground-dwelling Rhacophorid Frog from the Highest Peak of the Western Ghats of India

Raorchestes resplendens
Biju, Shouche, Dubois, Dutta & Bossuyt, 2010

A new rhacophorid frog is described from Eravikulam National Park in the Western Ghats of India. Thespecies is morphologically dissimilar from any known member of this family in having a bright orange to reddish colouration, multiple macroglands on the bodyand extremely short limbs. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial genes indicate that this new frog is nestedin a radiation of shrub frogs that had its origin on the Indian subcontinent, and which is here recognized as a distinct genus, Raorchestes gen. nov. The new species, Raorchestes resplendens sp. nov. is likely restricted to less than 3 sq. km on the summit of Anamudi, anddeserves immediate conservation priority.

Keywords: Endotrophic development, macroglands, mitochondrial phylogeny, Raorchestes gen. nov., Raorchestes resplendens sp. nov., Western Ghats.

Figure 6. Map showing the type locality of Raorchestes resplendens at Anamudi, in the Western Ghats. Map modified from Inger (et al. 1984) Shaded contours showing above 300 m asl (light) and above 1000 m asl (dark).

Type locality: Anamudi summit, 10°10′N 77°05′E, Idukki District, Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India.
Holotype: BNHS 4087.

• Biju S.D., Shouche Y., Dubois A., Dutta S.K. & Bossuyt F. 2010. A ground-dwelling rhacophorid frog from the highest mountain peak of the Western Ghats of India. Current Science, 98: 1119-1125. Full article
• Inger, R. F., Shaffer, H. B., Koshy, M. and Bakde, R. 1984. A report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from the Ponmudi, Kerala, South India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 1984, 81, 406–570

Figure 3. Raorchestes resplendens sp. nov. in life. a, Holotype (BNHS 4087, left-hand side); paratype (BNHS 5302, right-hand side); b, Paratype (BNHS 5304), profile; c, Paratype (BNHS 5304), ventral side, showing granulation.

Figure 1. Left, Maximum likelihood tree based on a 3370 bp data matrix of mtDNA, showing the nested phylogenetic position of Raorchestes resplendens in the genus. Right, Maximum likelihood tree for know Raorchestes species (all except R. ochlandrae) of the Western Ghats, based on a 1488 bp data matrix of mtDNA. Black circles indicate Bayesian posterior probabilities above 95%.

Raorchestes resplendens developmental stage

The frog's habitat is less than three square kilometres in size

'Unique' frog species discovered by scientists in India:

A new species of "brightly coloured frog" has been discovered in a remote peak in the southern part of India, scientists have told BBC News.
This reddish orange amphibian, spotted in the Eravaikulam National Park of the Western Ghats mountain range, has been named Raorchestes resplendens.
The scientists found the frog at an altitude of 2,698m above sea level on the Anaimudi peak.
It inhabits a very small area of less than three square kilometres.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists including Dr S D Biju, from the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Delhi.

The scientists discovered the frog on the Anaimudi peak in Eravikulam National Park