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DU Scientists Discover New Frog Species, Name it After Former VC Deepak Pental

The new species is found in western ghats of India only

The new species is found in western ghats of India only

The results were found after a comprehensive study of the genus Minervarya (also known as Minervaryan frogs) of Indian frogs that lasted nearly 10 years, according to the varsity's official statement.

A team of Delhi University scientists discovered a new frog species in the Western Ghats and named it after former DU Vice-Chancellor and plant geneticist Deepak Pental.

Professor SD Biju and Dr Sonali Garg of the University of Delhi has said that they have found a new species of frog belonging to the family Dicroglossidae in the globally recognised Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, which runs along the Indian Peninsula’s southwest coast, and called it “Minervarya Pentali.". According to the experts, this new species is only found in the southern region.

The results were found after a comprehensive study of the genus Minervarya (also known as Minervaryan frogs) of Indian frogs that lasted nearly 10 years, according to the varsity’s official statement.

“We discovered it in roadside vegetation at a variety of locations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu while scanning frogs during the monsoon season. This species is also one of the tiniest recognised Minervaryan frogs, which might be one of the reasons it was overlooked until now,” explains Dr Sonali Garg, the main author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at DU.

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Multiple criteria, including external appearance, DNA, and calling pattern, were used to identify the new species. In addition to defining the geographical ranges of species and giving several new distribution records based on morphologically and genetically identifiable samples from a large territory, the study resolved the identification and taxonomic status of all known members of the genus from Peninsular India.

The findings were published in the international journal Asian Herpetological Research as ‘DNA Barcoding and Systematic Review of Minervaryan Frogs (Dicroglossidae: Minervarya) of Peninsular India: Resolution of a Taxonomic Conundrum with Description of a New Species.’

Biju founded the Systematics Lab in 2006 and is the former Dean of the Faculty of Science and Head of the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Delhi.

According to the varsity, this study and its authors were supported by the University of Delhi, the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of the Government of India, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund of the United States, and Global Wildlife Conservation of the United States.

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first published:August 03, 2021, 08:47 IST