Three new species of horned frogs discovered in Nagaland, Manipur

New Delhi: After discovery of a variety of fish, snakes and bats in North East India, scientists have now found not one but three new species of horned frogs of the genus Megophrys or Asian Horned Frogs in Nagaland and Manipur.
Two of such species were found in Nagaland and one from Manipur’s Tamenglong district. Asian Horned frogs are known to be endemic to South East Asia, the North East region of India as well as Nepal and Bhutan.
Megophrys is a genus of frogs in the family Megophryidae. They commonly have elongated upper “eyebrows” and are thus known as Asian Horned Frogs.
The discovery was made by a team of Irish and Indian biologists including Dr Rachunliu G Kamei, a Naga Herpetologist. from the University College Dublin (Ireland), the Natural History Museum (UK), and University of Delhi. Their work was published in the Journal of Natural History on April 28.
The newly discovered frogs, previously not known to science, have been named Megophrys awuh (Naga Hills Horned Frog), Megophrys numhbumaeng (Tamenglong Horned Frog) and Megophrys dzukou (Dzukou Valley Horned Frog). The first was found in Meluri, the homeland of the Pochury tribe and in whose language awuh means frog.
The name of the second was derived from the Rongmei (Ruangmei) word nwmbwmaeng, meaning “forest spirit.” The Rongmei is the primary native tribe from the Tamenglong district of Manipur.
The third species was named “after the only place that this potentially endangered new species was found that lies on the border of Nagaland and Manipur states,” stated a press release informing of the new findings.
The discovery was made when the biologists were investigating a group of small species of horned frogs from North East India.
“For well over a century, up until 2007, most small horned frogs found from the mountains of Nepal and North East India, east to northern Indochina and peninsular Thailand were all assigned to this ‘catch all’ taxonomic name, with the result that this little forest frog was believed to have very wide geographical distribution. However, examining many museum specimens of this little forest frog, and using DNA analyses, the scientists discovered that it actually represented eight different species”, the release added.
Earlier too many new species of frogs, snakes, fish and even bats have been discovered in the biodiversity-rich North East.

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