New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Species in news: Rohanixalus -the frogs of the new genus


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Genus Rohanixalus

Mains level: Eastern Himalayas and its biodiversity

Indian researchers have discovered a genus of tree frog found in the Andaman Islands and the northeast.

A stand-alone species being mentioned in the news for the first time find their way into the prelims. Make special note here. Usually, note the species and its habitat location (IUCN status if available), in the purview of a generic prelims question.

Genus Rohanixalus

  • Named after Sri Lankan taxonomist Rohan Pethiyagoda, the frogs of the new genus Rohanixalus are characterised by a rather small and slender body (size about 2 to 3 cm long).
  • It has a pair of contrastingly coloured lateral lines on either side of the body, minute brown speckles scattered throughout the upper body surfaces, and light green coloured eggs laid in arboreal bubble-nests.
  • Based on DNA studies, the new genus is also revealed to be a distinct evolutionary lineage from all previously known tree frog genera.
  • It is the 20th recognised genus of the family Rhacophoridae that comprises 422 known Old World tree frog species found in Asia and Africa.

Sub-species of this frog

  • There are eight frog species in this genus Rohanixalus.
  • They are known to inhabit forested as well as human-dominated landscapes right from the northeast to Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, up to southern China.

Unique features of this genus

  • The genus has several unique behavioural traits including maternal egg attendance where the female (mother) attends the egg clutches until hatching and assists in the release of the tadpoles into the water.
  • During the first three days after egg-laying, the female sits over the eggs and produces a gelatinous secretion with which she glazes the egg mass through the clock-wise movement of her legs.
  • This behaviour provides necessary moisture to the eggs laid on exposed leaf surfaces and protects them from insect predation.

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