India’s newest frog evolved 60 million years ago

• A new species of frog has been discovered in the Western Ghat range in Wayanad, Kerala.

• The frog was first spotted in 2010 in Kurichiyarmala, Wayanad.

Key highlights

• The frog has been named as Astrobatrachus kurichiyana (Kurichiyana after Kurichiya tribe- a matrilineal tribe of Kerala distributed mainly in Wayanad and Kannur districts). The frog has been given the sobriquet Starry dwarf frog after the markings on its body.

• Genetic studies have revealed that its closest relatives are the Nycibatrachinae group of frogs that are found in Western Ghats, and the Lankanectinae frogs of Sri Lanka.

• Genetic analysis has further revealed that this species of frog is at least 60 million years old.

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Mains Paper 3: Environment

Prelims level: Frog discoveries

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