A group of researchers have discovered a new species of frog and are naming it after Bengaluru, the garden city of India. The researchers have named it Sphaerotheca Bengaluru. Deepak P, assistant professor at Mount Carmel College, discovered the new type of burrowing frog in 2018. Being an amateur herpetologist, he had sent images of the frog to the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and an independent phylogenetic study confirmed the discovery.
"Amphibian discoveries in India have been rising in the recent past with most findings concentrated on the biodiversity hotspots of the country or at least forested landscapes with green cover. In one of the efforts of documenting 'Amphibians in the Deccan Plateau parts of Karnataka' Deepak encountered the new species of frog and published his findings in a collaborative effort with other institutes' scientists," researchers said.
Researchers from multiple Indian institutes and one from France participated in the research. Besides Deepak, KP Dinesh from Zoological Survey of India (Pune), Annemarie Ohler from the Institute of Systematic, Evolution, Biodiversity, National Museum of Natural History, France; Professor Kartik Shankar from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc); BH Channakeshavamurthy from ZSI, Calicut and JS Ashadevi, professor at Yuvaraja's College, Mysuru, conducted the study.
The researchers have published the findings in the international journal Zootaxa.
Why name after Bengaluru city?
The researchers have named the new species of the frog after Bengaluru city to highlight the lacunae in documentation of amphibians from non-forested areas and to restore their habitats like freshwater bodies in the city.
Dinesh said the researchers are trying to understand the patterns of discoveries of new species in the country and attempting to "unravel new ones from the fastest-growing cities, which are witnessing rapid urbanisation."
With this discovery, researchers have now realised that species of frogs can be found outside forests and even in cities that are highly populous.