#FridayFrogFact – Kumbara Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus kumbara)

Until 2011, only 15 species of night frogs (frogs belonging to the Nyctibatrachus genus) had been discovered in India. A paper by SD Biju and team uncovered 12 more, taking the count to 27. Today there are 28 known species, with Kumbara Night Frog; the latest addition to this list. These night frogs live in the freshwater streams of mountains throughout the Western Ghats. In other words, they are found only in the Ghats and nowhere else in the world- this is why they are called ‘endemic’ to the Western Ghats. Today I am talking about one of these unique night frogs – the Kumbara Night Frog. Kumbara (in Kannada) or Kumbhara/Kumhara (in Devanagari) literally translates to a ‘potter’.

Mating night frogs! Picture by Dr Gururaja KV
Mating night frogs! Picture by Dr Gururaja KV

After numerous surveys and tremendous effort, a team of scientists led by Dr Gururaja has observed something extraordinary in this frog’s mating behaviour. Post courtship, the male frog of this species stands on its tiny hind limbs, then using its forelimbs it packs the newly laid clutch of eggs with fine mud from the bottom of the stream. The team members’ minds were blown away at this completely new discovery in the frog world. Researchers spent hours on end recording this obscure nature’s ‘potter’ and later appropriately named it such! This amazing behavioural trait (hitherto unknown) was observed from 2006 to 2012 at Kathalekan, near Jog falls in the Uttara Kannada region of Karnataka. The team published their findings in an international journal called ‘Zootaxa’ in May 2014 – sharing their fascinating discovery with the global scientific community.

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PS: Today we know about these incredible frogs because of the excellent scientific discoveries by teams of scientists studying and observing them day and night. Stellar scientific discoveries by passionate scientists like Dr Gururaja KV and Dr SD Biju have taken us to a wholly deeper level of understanding in this fascinating world of frogs!

More fun, mind-blowing facts next week. Stay tuned  🙂

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