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India’s newest frog, a starry dwarf frog AstrobatrachusKurichiya has been found in Kerala.
About the frog:
- The thumbnail-sized species was discovered in India’s Western Ghats, one of the world’s “hottest” biodiversity hotspots.
- Scientists have named the frog Astrobatrachuskurichiyana for its constellation-like markings and the indigenous people of Kurichiyarmala, living in Wayanad of Kerala, where it was found.
- Its two closest relatives, frogs in the genera Nyctibatrachus and Lankanectes are found in the Western Ghats and Srilanka respectively.
- It’s the sole member of an ancient lineage, and researchers have classified as a new subfamily, Astrobatrachinae.
- Dark brown with a bright orange underbelly and speckled with pale blue dots, the frog camouflages well in wet leaf litter.
- Pointed toes are one of the starry dwarf frog’s unusual characteristics.
- It is a nocturnal amphibian.
- Genetic analysis reveals that the species is at least 60 million years old.