Magazine article Geographical

Frog Respawn: A Tree Frog Thought to Have Been Extinct for 140 Years Has Been Rediscovered in the Jungles of Northeast India

Magazine article Geographical

Frog Respawn: A Tree Frog Thought to Have Been Extinct for 140 Years Has Been Rediscovered in the Jungles of Northeast India

Article excerpt

Last seen in the wild in 1870, Frankixalus jerdoniii, a golf-ball sized amphibian, was believed extinct until rediscovered by biologist Dr Sathyabhama Das Biju, affectionately nicknamed 'the frog man of India'. 'It was late in the evening immediately after some sporadic rain showers,' recalls Biju. 'From high up in the canopy we heard some distinct frog calls. At the time we didn't know what species we were looking at.'

The jerdonii genus demonstrates some unusual characteristics: 'It's unique because it spawns into water-filled tree holes in the canopy,' says Biju. According to his observations, the mother tree frog feeds her tadpoles (pictured below) her own unfertilised eggs until they turn into froglets. 'This rare form of parental care behaviour is the first of its kind seen in India,' he continues. Having now been officially reclassified, it is hoped that researchers will find it in much greater numbers across a wide area from India to Thailand. …

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