New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Species in news: Myristica Swamp Treefrog


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Myristica Swamp Treefrog

Mains level: Western Ghats and its biodiversity richness

Myristica swamp treefrog, a rare arboreal (living on trees) species endemic to the Western Ghats has been recorded for the first time in Kerala’s Thrissur district.

Again, a stand-alone peculiar species is in the news. Make a special note here. Usually, note the species and its habitat location (IUCN status if available), in the purview of a generic prelims question.

Myristica Swamp Treefrog

  • It bears the scientific name Mercurana myristicapalustris.
  • The frog was first spotted in 2013 in the Myristica swamps of Arippa, near the Kulathupuzha Reserve Forest, in the western foothills of Agasthyamalai, in Kollam district.
  • Unlike the Myristica swamp treefrog found in the foothills of the Agasthyamalai, these frogs were found to be active throughout June and early July.

Unique traits

  • These frogs are rare and elusive for the reason that they are arboreal and active only for a few weeks during their breeding season.
  • During this season, there is a large aggregation of males that descend from the high canopy of the trees.
  • The breeding season, unlike for other frogs, starts in the pre-monsoon season (May) and ends before the monsoon becomes fully active in June.
  • Before the end of the breeding season, the female frogs along with their male counterparts descend on the forest floor. The female digs the mud and lays eggs in shallow burrows in mud.
  • After breeding and egg-laying, they retreat back to the high canopies of the tree and remain elusive till next breeding season.

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