Sathyabhama Das Biju, from the University of Delhi and Franky Bossuyt from the Free University of Brussels discovered the tree frogs at night while hiking in
One of the frogs was a ‘re-discovery’. The travancore bush frog (Philautus travancoricus) had not been reported for 100 years, and was thought to be extinct. Unfortunately the area where the bush frog was re-discovered has been very much damaged by human activity.
““This highlights the need for a new conservation strategy for our country. Seemingly small habitat disturbances can wipe out species… Seven of the newly reported species were found in unprotected areas that were forests some time back and are plantations and human habitations now. These species are fast vanishing,” stated Dr. Biju. He is the holder of two doctorates: one in frog systematics and another in plant taxonomy. In 2008 he was awarded the Sabin Award for Amphibian Conservation. The discoveries took place over ten years of field research in the 1,000 mile-long mountainous region. Results of the research were published in the Zoological Journal of Linnean Society.
According to the Western Ghats Wikipedia entry, the region is replete with endemic life. “The range is home to at least 84 amphibian species, 16 bird species, seven mammals, and 1,600 flowering plants which are not found elsewhere in the world.” On February 10th, a conference was held to discuss measures that can be taken to protect the Western Ghats and its biodiversity.
Frogs consume insects and can eat their whole body weight in bugs in a single day. Because insects such as mosquitoes transmit deadly diseases, and frogs keep insect populations down, removing frogs from the environment can be harmful to human health.