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ZSI researchers discover new species of horned frog in Arunachal

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SHILLONG, July 3: A team of researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Shillong, in collaboration with their colleagues from ZSI, Pune, and ZSI, Itanagar, has discovered a new species of horned frog from the Tale Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.
Named Xenophrys apatani, the discovery marks a significant addition to India’s herpeto-faunal diversity.
According to a statement here, the team of researchers involved was Bhaskar Saikia and Bikramjit Sinha of the ZSI, Shillong, KP Dinesh and A Shabnam of ZSI, Pune, and Ilona Jacinta Kharkongor of ZSI, Itanagar.
“This finding overturns an earlier erroneous report of the Maoson horned frog (Xenophrys maosonensis) in India reported by researchers of ZSI, Shillong, in 2019. The revised conclusion regarding the identity of the species was done after further analysis revealed substantial genetic disparities between the Indian specimen and Xenophrys maosonensis from Vietnam and China, prompting a re-evaluation,” the statement said.
“This discovery of Xenophrys apatani underscores India’s rich biodiversity and highlights the importance of rigorous taxonomic studies in understanding our natural heritage. The new frog species is named after the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, which predominantly reside in the Lower Subansiri Valley of Arunachal Pradesh (where Tale WLS is located) and in recognition of their ingenuity in conservation of wild flora and fauna,” it added.
The researchers have also provided insights into the biogeographic distribution of Xenophrys species in India, which are distributed along the Eastern Himalayas and Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspots of the country.

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