The Shillong bush frog, the smallest frog of Meghalaya, is endemic to the state

SHILLONG: 11th July 2022 (PTI Source)

Researchers from the ZSI (Zoological-Survey-of-India) - Ilona Kharkongor & Bhaskar Saikia, whose work was published in a quarterly peer-reviewed 'Herpetological Review," that publishes journals, notes, and articles on amphibian and reptile research, said they witnessed species of varied bright colour variants when strolling in the evening within the South area of the Reserve Forest, in Kolkata.

The Shillong bush frog, the smallest Meghalaya amphibian, is found only in the higher elevations of the East Khasi Hills, according to scientists. Many bright colour varieties exist for this species. The frog, which is so tiny that it might fit on a fingernail, has been discovered to have at least six distinct colour patterns in its anatomy.

Some species were found to have a slaty/grey dorsal colouration, as well as hourglass marking on the dorsum and black dorsum, and a slaty or grey dorsal tone alike.

The male species (frogs) of this species produce a distinctive tick-tick kind of sound to call for their partners during the wet summer evening, which is endemic to the higher elevations of the state's East Khasi Hills region. The Shillong Bush frogs' unusual and distinctive feature is that they have direct development, according to Saikia.

The eggs hatch as tiny froglets, a miniature version of their parents, rather than as tadpoles, the species skipping the tadpole stage and emerging as young froglets. This evolutionary technique eliminates the requirement for water throughout development, according to him.

N Srinivas, a Kolkata-based scientist, said he was concerned about the small frog species of the state being harmed by urbanization. He stated that The Shillong bush frog shares a habitat with humans, putting it at risk from concretisation, habitat fragmentation and mostly pollution.

As a result, Shillong bush frogs are under constant threat from these issues. Uncontrolled forest fires, tree cutting, mining, garbage disposal at the forest borderlands, and the use of hazardous pesticides in gardens are all dangers that these animals face. The four factors, along with a restricted distribution range and the constantly-growing hazard of global warming and climate change, are why such high-elevation endemic animals and species are categorically endangered, he added further.