The Pethiastriata was discovered along the streams of the Tunga in the Kudremukh National Park; (right) The Nyctibatrachus kumbara was found in the streams of the Sharavati.
The discoveries point to the need for conservation in the region, say researchers
The intricate ecosystem of the Western Ghats has seen the discovery of a new fish species and three types of tadpoles as reported in scientific journals over the past fortnight. The discoveries, say the researchers, point to the rich fauna and the need for conservation measures in the region. Researchers from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) came across a new fish species, Pethiastriata, along the streams of the Tunga in the Kudremukh National Park. V.M. Atkore, lead author of the study which was published in the journal Copeia , confirmed the discovery of the endemic species from two streams, the Mudba and the Turad, of the Tunga.
Pethiastriata is described as a small fish, with a length of around 4 cm. The male is reddish in colour and the female, greyish. The species thrive in shallow pools of gently flowing water and are found in small groups of around four. The fish differ from existing species on seven characteristics, including dark outer edges of scales that give them a distinct striped pattern, said Mr. Atkore.
In the Journal of Natural History , a group of scientists from ATREE, Gubbi Labs and Manipal University, reported finding three species of tadpoles for the first time in the narrow streams of the Sharavati. They belong to the species of Nyctibatrachus (meaning ‘night frog’) — N. kumbara (‘potter frog’), N. kempholeyensis (named after the Kempuhole stream) and N. jog (named after the waterfall) — which was discovered recently.
“The adults were reported, but the tadpoles were not seen as it is very difficult to spot them. Studying them will give an idea of their habitat requirement. It is clear that if water in the streams drop, the frog species will be wiped out,” said K.V. Gururaja from Gubbi Labs.
H. Priti from ATREE, who is the lead author of the study, said tadpole habitats were disappearing as streams were being diverted for irrigation. Similarly, Mr. Atkore said the region had “great potential” for discovery of many new species of fish. “We should protect these biodiverse areas from any kind of damage. Otherwise, we will lose many endemic species,” he said.