Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hiding From Hillbillies

They Only Come Out At Night

Imagine a frog as big as a baseball hopping from rock to rock in the dark before thumping into your leg or chest and scaring the beejesus out of you! I imagine something like that must have happened a time or two over the past year as biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju and his student researchers from the University of Delhi combed (or strained, maybe) the marshy areas of India nocturnally (did someone say "Snipe hunt?"), hoping to discover something important about frogs...which they did.
In fact, the researchers discovered 12 new species of frog in India as well as three species that were previously thought to be extinct! Such finds include the Meowing Night frog that makes a noise like, well, like a cat; also newly-discovered was the Jog night frog: unusual because both male and female watch over the eggs; and the Wayanad frog which grows to be the size of a baseball. That brings to 336 the total number of frog species!
All of this information was recently published in Zootaxa, an international taxonomy journal. Why is this important? Well, frog populations and species are great indicators of climate change and density of pollutants, according to Das Bijn. As a result of those two factors (as well as hillbilly hunting, one might surmise) more than 32% of all known amphibian species are threatened with extinction, according to the Global Wildlife Conservation.
So, for now, India seems to be a haven for amphibians, but it won't be long until there's a reality show featuring toothless guys with tridents and Little League bats stalking baseball-sized frogs through the noisy Indian night...and getting thumped in the chest in return.
One word of caution, though: there are tigers in India that come out at night, too.


Post a Comment

<< Home