Meghalaya: Extinct Frog Found After 150 Years

National Geographic reports that a bizarre frog that breeds inside trees and lays eggs for its tadpoles to eat has been rediscovered in north-eastern India after 150 years.

Last recorded in the wild in 1870, Jerdon’s tree frog was known to be extinct until an expedition lead by “Frogman of India” found it during a three-year search that began in 2007.

Sathyabhama Das Biju is a well known name in some circles as he dedicated his life to Amphibian Research. He is also a brilliant photographer and some of the pictures he took of this supposedly extinct frog specie are below.

old tree frog 25.1.2016
Male Rediscovered Frog Species peeping out of a tree hollow clicked by SD Biju [Source: news.nationalgeographic.com]

In the subtropical region of Khasi hills in the state of Meghalaya, the tadpoles were found. These tadpoles contained upto 19 eggs each. “It’s very clear that they are feeding purely on their mother’s eggs,” says Biju.

He suspects females make return visits to the tree holes to keep their tadpoles topped up with eggs.

National Geographic makes it a point to mention everything about the frog that they ever discovered but I went ahead and made a few interesting pointers for myself to note and explore.

  1. This specie was feeding it’s own eggs to the tadpoles.
  2. In some cases, the females were collectively sharing the burden of feeding the tadpoles.
  3. Scientists believe that feeding the young ones with eggs is a rare practice in frogs which mean they have revived themselves more than once.
  4. Evolutionary methods have led them to now survive in this manner.
  5. It was first discovered by a British zoologist now rediscovered by an Indian one, which is quite ironic.
  6. The Frog’s scientific name takes after it’s initial discoverer, Thoman Jerdon and hence the name is Polypedates jerdonii.
frog extinct now found
Female Rediscovered Frog Specie, clicked by SD Biju [Source: news.nationalgeographic.com]

Jitters

Although this piece of news is seemingly good news, it still makes me very nervous as my mind finds a hundred different things that can go wrong after something good happens.

  1. Why is it that many species are being found in the eastern foothills of the Himalays?
  2. Why aren’t biologists more interested in those areas which are rich with biodiversity and thankfully still untouched by human interventions?
  3. What will happen now that there is limelight towards these species that are slowly trying to revive themselves?
  4. A revival of species gives hope, but does not negate the many species that are slowly being wiped out due to human intervention.
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