Altering Water Channels Affecting Habitat Of Arunachal’s ‘Adi Cascade’ Frogs, Claim Scientists

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  • NET Web Desk

Arunachal Pradesh – the region with cold, forested landscape, hiding unparalleled diversity with several specialist species, rain-forests, countless valleys, enormous diversity of flora & fauna, and ageless forests is also the home to indigenous communities entirely dependent on its biological resources.

Scientists across the globe have raised concerns on the new challenges faced by species in regard to its survival. Listed specifically, such obstacles include – climate change, habitat change, urging for modernization/developmental activities.

Habitat change has been claimed as the main reason to blame the future endangerment of recently discovered species in Arunachal Pradesh, the local population of Adi cascade frogs scientifically termed ‘Amolops adicola’.

Scientific reports claim, the genus of Amolops is marked among the largest groups of ranid frogs (family Ranidae).

Incorporating of 73 known species, its population is widely distributed across India’s North East and north – Nepal, Bhutan, China, the Indochina region and the Malaya Peninsula.

Moist habitat, specifically depicted with small waterfalls is considered the key preference of cascade frogs.

Both adults and tadpoles of Adi cascade frogs are specifically adapted to fast flowing sections of stream, whose modification might wipe out the species.

According to experts, construction of check dams on streams, removal of boulders might endanger the species in the recent times.

“One of the major threats to these animals is rapid change to their habitat; such as the construction of small dams on streams, altering stream-flow for agriculture and removal of boulders,” quoted by Naitik G Patel from the Department of Endangered Species Management at Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

Its worth mentioning that species of these ranid frogs were recently discovered by a team of Indian and American biologists from WII, University of Delhi and North Carolina Museum of Natural Science at Arunachal Pradesh’s Adi hills.

These species has been morphologically distinguished from its congeners by a suite of characters, including – adult size, body colouration and markings, skin texture, snout shape, foot webbing and digit tip, informed by Journal of Natural History.

Amolops adicola has been identified based on multiple criteria such as its external morphology, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and calling patterns.

The new taxa discovered while revisiting a century-old Adi expedition in 2018, is marked as a significant finding by experts.

Biologists were investigating a group of medium- to large-sized cascade frogs from the North East over five years.

The study resolved century-old taxonomic confusions about the identity of another such frog species, scientifically termed ‘Amolops monticola’, described from the Sikkim Himalayas almost 150 years ago.

Such discoveries with important implications on the taxonomy and geographical distribution of several other members of this group are found in India and the neighbouring regions of China.