3 new species of cascade frogs discovered from Arunachal

ITANAGAR, 4 Mar: Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and St Anthony’s College, Shillong (Meghalaya) have discovered three new species of cascade frogs from Arunachal Pradesh.

The report of the findings was published in the recent edition of the research journal Records of the Zoological Survey of India. Scientifically, all three new species belong to the true frog family Ranidae, and these cascade-dwelling frogs are classified under the genus Amolops.

The new species have been named Amolops chanakya, Amolops tawang and Amolops terraorchis, and were collected from three different locations in Arunachal between 2018 and 2019.

Amolops chanakya was collected from Dirang, while Amolops tawang was collected from Tawang, and Amolops terraorchis was collected from the Sessa orchid sanctuary.

While Amolops tawang has been named after the district in which this species was discovered, the name Amolops terraorchis literally refers to the one from ‘the land of orchids’ (terra=land, orchis=orchid, in Latin language), suggesting

its discovery from the Sessa orchid sanctuary, which is the first protected landscape in the world, dedicated to the conservation of orchid diversity.

In science, naming a species after a person is usually considered as paying homage to his/her contribution to the society. Hence, the name chosen for the third species, Amolops chanakya, is interesting, as it has been named after Chanakya (or Kautilya/Vishnugupta), a 4th century BCE scholar of India, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Maurya empire and overthrowing of the Nanda empire of Pataliputra (now Patna).

The team that made these discoveries included Bhaskar Saikia and Dr Bikramjit Sinha of the ZSI, Shillong; Dr KP Dinesh and Shabnam Ansari of the ZSI, Pune; and Dr MA Laskar of St Anthony’s College, Shillong.