Arunachal Pradesh has yielded three species of “true frogs” new to science. One has been named after ancient Indian polymath Chanakya, the second after the Buddhist pilgrimage Tawang and the third after the country’s first orchid sanctuary where it was recorded.
Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and St. Anthony’s College in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong recorded the new species of frogs belonging to the family Ranidae and dwelling in cascades at an average altitude of more than 1,700 metres above sea level.
The findings were published in the recent edition of Records of the Zoological Survey of India, a leading research journal. The authors are Bhaskar Saikia, Bikramjit Sinha, K.P. Dinesh, Shabnam Ansari of the ZSI, and Mostaque A. Laskar of St. Anthony’s College.
Classified under the genus Amolops, these new species have been named Amolops chanakya, Amolops tawang, and Amolops terraorchis. The specimens were collected in 2018 and 2019, the authors said.
Amolops chanakya was collected from Dirang in West Kameng district, Amolops tawang was collected from Tawang and Amolops terraorchis was collected from Sessa Orchid Sanctuary.
While Amolops tawang is named simply after the district from where it was recorded, Amolops terraorchis is a blend of Latin words meaning the land of orchids, the authors said. Terra means land and orchis is orchid in the Latin language.
“In science, naming a species after a person is usually considered as paying homage to his or her contribution to society. Amolops chanakya is dedicated to the 4 th century BCE scholar, also known as Kautilya or Vishnugupta, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Mauryan empire,” Mr. Saikia said.
Although the species of Amolops are difficult to identify by morphology and colour, DNA barcoding tools were used to justify the designations of the new species, the authors said.