India’s newest frog species may have been introduced from Southeast Asia

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  • A new species of frog, Microhyla kodial, was discovered in the Indian coastal state of Karnataka.
  • First noticed two years ago, a team of Indian scientists published their discovery in the Zootaxa journal this week.
  • It’s possible that the frogs were accidentally introduced into India from one of the southeast Asian nations.
Rather than in the middle of the wilderness, a new species of frog was found in an industrial region along the coast of one of India’s southern states, Karnataka. Now deemed the Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog, the discovery was first published in the international journal Zootaxa earlier this week, on Tuesday.

Unique habitat

The scientific name of the new species is Microhyla kodial as a homage to the city of Mangaluru, which is called kodial in the local language of Konkani, where the frog was first spotted two years ago.

The research team that consists of 6 members, found that these frogs live exclusively within the urban environment between Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited and National Highway 66. The entire patch is a former timber yard that’s surrounded by industrial factories on all sides.

Why weren’t they found till now?

Considering that the frog is only 2cm long, it could’ve been easily overlooked in the urban setting that consists of its habitat. It can be told apart from other frogs because of the thick olive-green band on its head and the darker green bands on the rest of its body. But what stands out the most, are the frog’s distinct calls.

The team’s current theory is that frogs may have been accidentally introduced into the Indian landscape from a southeast Asian country. The timber yard, that is their home, used to be a depot for wood imported from Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia. Not to mention that their own genetic composition is closer to Asian frog than that of Indian frogs.

The Mangaluru narrow-mouthed frog is the 42nd species to join the ranks of the Microhyla organisms documented in south Asia. Globally, there are a total of 650 frogs that belong to Microhylidae family.
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