July 31, 2021

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Shots: Out in the field with the frog prince of India

  • Over 30 yrs, Sathyabhama Das Biju has led expeditions that have resulted in the discovery of more than 100 amphibians across India and Sri Lanka, and as considerably off as China, Indonesia and Thailand. “Every vacation to the field is a distinct encounter, even in the very same site,” suggests Biju, 58, normally referred to as India’s leading “frogman”. In his coffers are India’s smallest frog, a rare canopy-dwelling frog assumed to be extinct, 14 varieties of dancing frog. “All our discoveries have been accidental,” he states fairly modestly. See the person and his operate in photographs.

Current ON JUL 16, 2021 12:29 PM IST 8 Shots

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Amphibian biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju with a golden-backed frog in the Western Ghats. In addition to getting 105 species so much, Biju has performed research that proved groundbreaking. He was instrumental in differentiating between the golden-backed frogs in India and people in Sri Lanka, for occasion. Following a 10 years-very long survey in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, analysing DNA and morphology, Biju concluded that were being no golden-backs that were being typical to equally nations. Sri Lanka has a single species and the Western Ghats has six, each and every current in their individual narrow geographies.(Courtesy SD Biju)

Current ON JUL 16, 2021 12:29 PM IST

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SD Biju at his lab at the University of Delhi. He is currently dean of the faculty of science. This is where he and his team study the samples and data that they collect in the field, record morphological and anatomical data and conduct DNA analyses. It can take multiple field trips and years of analysis before a new species is formally named.(Courtesy SD Biju)

SD Biju at his lab at the College of Delhi. He is at the moment dean of the faculty of science. This is the place he and his group research the samples and details that they acquire in the subject, file morphological and anatomical facts and conduct DNA analyses. It can get a number of field journeys and many years of evaluation before a new species is formally named.(Courtesy SD Biju)

Updated ON JUL 16, 2021 12:29 PM IST

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Biju’s discovery of this rather odd-looking purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) in 2003 changed his life. Not only had he discovered a brand new family of amphibians and provided evidence of an ancient geographical link between India and the Seychelles, an island now almost 4,000 km away in the Indian Ocean, the frog was also proof of a claim he had made a couple of years earlier — that India had hundreds of amphibian species waiting to be discovered.(Photo by SD Biju)

Biju’s discovery of this alternatively odd-hunting purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) in 2003 modified his everyday living. Not only experienced he discovered a model new relatives of amphibians and offered proof of an historic geographical backlink concerning India and the Seychelles, an island now almost 4,000 km away in the Indian Ocean, the frog was also evidence of a claim he experienced created a few of many years previously — that India had hundreds of amphibian species waiting around to be discovered.(Photo by SD Biju)

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The Frankixalus jerdonii, rediscovered in the foothills of the Himalayas by Biju and his team. The tree canopy-dwelling species was thought to be extinct for nearly 150 years, and was rediscovered in a 2007 expedition, after Biju and his researchers realised that the unique mating calls — “a full musical orchestra” — were coming from the tree canopy and not from the ground. The Frankixalus jerdonii was classified as a new genus, characterised by a rare behaviour where the young are fed on unfertilised eggs.(Photo by SD Biju)

The Frankixalus jerdonii, rediscovered in the foothills of the Himalayas by Biju and his team. The tree cover-dwelling species was considered to be extinct for practically 150 yrs, and was rediscovered in a 2007 expedition, after Biju and his scientists realised that the distinctive mating phone calls — “a whole musical orchestra” — had been coming from the tree canopy and not from the ground. The Frankixalus jerdonii was classified as a new genus, characterised by a rare conduct where by the younger are fed on unfertilised eggs.(Picture by SD Biju)

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The Nyctibatrachus pulivijayanii (Vijayan’s night frog), a miniature frog less than 14mm long. The Nyctibatrachus, a genus of tiny night frog, is found only in the Western Ghats. The pulivijayanii is named after Vijayan Kani, one of the many tribals who have guided Biju through unfamiliar forests through the years, helping greatly in his research. Kani is from the Agasthyamala hills of Kerala and acquired the name Pulivijayan after surviving a leopard attack (puli is Malayalam for leopard). Biju thought this name apt, he says, given the leopard-like spots on the back of this frog.(Photo by SD Biju)

The Nyctibatrachus pulivijayanii (Vijayan’s night frog), a miniature frog much less than 14mm very long. The Nyctibatrachus, a genus of small evening frog, is observed only in the Western Ghats. The pulivijayanii is named right after Vijayan Kani, one of the numerous tribals who have guided Biju by unfamiliar forests by way of the years, supporting tremendously in his analysis. Kani is from the Agasthyamala hills of Kerala and acquired the identify Pulivijayan immediately after surviving a leopard attack (puli is Malayalam for leopard). Biju believed this identify apt, he states, presented the leopard-like places on the back of this frog.(Photo by SD Biju)

Current ON JUL 16, 2021 12:29 PM IST

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Biju led the discovery of a new family of legless amphibians (known as caecilians), which he called Chikilidae, after the Garo word for these creatures. Five species were discovered after 250 soil digs across north-east India, over five years. These amphibians spend their entire lives underground. They look like worms, but are distinguished by their backbone.(Photo by SD Biju)

Biju led the discovery of a new family members of legless amphibians (recognized as caecilians), which he known as Chikilidae, following the Garo phrase for these creatures. 5 species have been identified soon after 250 soil digs throughout north-east India, around five a long time. These amphibians commit their complete lives underground. They seem like worms, but are distinguished by their spine.(Image by SD Biju)

Updated ON JUL 16, 2021 12:29 PM IST

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Biju has 14 species of dancing frog in his tally. Dancing frogs belong to the Micrixalus family, found in the Western Ghats, and are named after their habit of lifting and waving their hind feet to attract females during breeding season. Seen here is the Mallan’s dancing frog (Micrixalus mallani), which Biju named after another field guide, Mallan Kani, who has been assisting him for 15 years.(Photo by SD Biju)

Biju has 14 species of dancing frog in his tally. Dancing frogs belong to the Micrixalus household, discovered in the Western Ghats, and are named soon after their routine of lifting and waving their hind feet to attract ladies through breeding year. Noticed right here is the Mallan’s dancing frog (Micrixalus mallani), which Biju named soon after a further industry manual, Mallan Kani, who has been aiding him for 15 years.(Photograph by SD Biju)

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Franky’s narrow-mouthed frog (Mysticellus franki) is literally mysterious. It took two years from the discovery of the tadpoles for Biju and his team to finally identify the adults, and another four years before they could announce their discovery to the world. When it was described in 2019, it was awarded its own newly created genus, Mysticellus, derived from the Latin mysticus or mysterious. They disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared to the scientists, who haven’t been able to trace where they live in non-breeding season. Their call sounds like a chorus of insects.(Photo by SD Biju)

Franky’s slender-mouthed frog (Mysticellus franki) is basically mysterious. It took two years from the discovery of the tadpoles for Biju and his staff to last but not least detect the adults, and yet another four decades ahead of they could announce their discovery to the world. When it was explained in 2019, it was awarded its have newly made genus, Mysticellus, derived from the Latin mysticus or mysterious. They disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared to the researchers, who haven’t been able to trace where they dwell in non-breeding period. Their contact sounds like a refrain of insects.(Photograph by SD Biju)

Up to date ON JUL 16, 2021 12:29 PM IST