The India’s smallest land vertebrate, a 10-millimeter frog, has been discovered from the Western Ghats of Kerala by Delhi University Systematics Biologist, S D Biju and his colleagues.
This tiny Indian frog sitting on an Indian 5 rupee coin is the smallest India frog. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Delhi)
Indian land vertebrates (all animals with backbone except fishes), comprises of 2,400 species including 218 frog species.
S D Biju and his colleagues discovered the tiny night frog living under leaf litter and among the roots of ferns in the humid rainforest of the Western Ghats of Kerala, a mountainous region in the western portion of India. Biju gave a new name for the frog, Nyctibatrachus minimus.
With adult males of barely 10 mm in length, Nyctibatrachus minimus is the smallest of all known Indian land vertebrates and compete with miniature frogs in other parts of the world, including Cuba, the Amazon and Borneo.
This frog can be found during nighttime (hence the common name of the genus- Nightfrog) and also can be heard (mating calls) from under the leaf litter during monsoon months, the ideal time for reproduction.
Biju has been working in the Western Ghats to find new species of frogs over the past several years, and his findings include the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus) and the first canopy frog (Philautus nerostagona) from India.
The discovery was published recently in the Journal Current Science.