AUG 27, 2017 08:08 AM PDT

Newly-Discovered Frog Species is Unlike Any Other You've Seen Before

A new species of frog discovered in the Western Ghats mountain range in India is unlike any other frog you’ve seen before.

Bhupathy's purple frog (Nasikabatrachus bhupathi) has a unique bubbly body shape coupled with both purple-tinted smooth skin and a pig-like nose. Researchers describe N. bhupathi the journal Alytes.

Bhupathy's purple frog looks very unique, and its behavior is no different.

Image Credit: Jegath Janani

So why the strange bodily features that make this frog look like an amphibious mole? Unlike most frogs that dwell upon the Earth’s surface, Bhupathy’s purple frog lives almost exclusively underground.

Related: Is this the first fluorescent frog ever discovered?

The frogs hide out of sight within shallow underground burrows, but researchers located them by following the loud mating calls produced by males. Once in hand, they collected DNA samples of the frogs to compare with the nation’s ever-expanding genetic database for amphibians.

It’s not the first underground-burrowing frog ever discovered, but it’s one of the only known species thought to live underground for its entire life (except in rare circumstances).

Bhupathy's purple frog doesn’t even come up to the surface to eat because it feasts on underground ants and termites with its insect-grabbing tongue. In fact, the only time it comes up from its underground dwelling is when torrential rains sweep the nation and flood out its living quarters.

Related: This is the secret behind a frog's sticky tongue

In addition to escaping the flooded tunnels to breathe, coming to the surface after a downpour also presents the species with the perfect opportunity to mate with other specimens.

Although the fully-grown frog you see above is unusual in and of itself, even the tadpoles produced from these mating opportunities are vastly different from common frog tadpoles.

Bhupathy’s purple frog tadpoles use suckerfish-like mouths to cling to the rocky surfaces behind waterfalls in the Western Ghats mountains. There, they'll sit things out for almost 120 days while they develop; afterward, they begin their underground lifestyle.

Despite how unusual the frog’s characteristics are, the study's authors do note how it’s closely-related to another frog species known as Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, which was discovered in the same region back in 2003.

Bhupathy's purple frog is a testament to just how little we actually know about the world's diverse amphibians. Just when we thought we had everything all figured out, mother nature surprises us with something we didn’t even know existed.

Continued studies in the region may help researchers discover new frogs with similar characteristics, and perhaps develop a clearer understanding of Bhupathy’s purple frog’s behavior and lifestyle, but only time will tell.

Source: National Geographic

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 25, 2018
Videos
JUN 25, 2018
No, You Shouldn't Pee On That Jellyfish Sting
You might’ve heard the rumor that you can alleviate some of the suffering associated with a jellyfish sting by urinating on it, but you might want to...
JUN 26, 2018
Earth & The Environment
JUN 26, 2018
What on Earth is F-sand?
If you had to guess, what would you think “F-sand” is? Whatever your answer, I’ll be mightily impressed if you said a cheap and effective...
JUL 03, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
JUL 03, 2018
Sequencing of Koala Genome Provides Insight Into the Unique Species
Koalas are fascinating animals, and their populations have proven difficult to manage. New work will change that....
JUL 09, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 09, 2018
Radio Tracking Could Help Control Asian Hornet Populations in the UK
Asian hornets have become a significant problem in the United Kingdom. These pesky insects feast on honeybees and other vital pollinating insects, and thei...
AUG 01, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 01, 2018
Lemur Populations in Serious Trouble, IUCN Says
Citing animal conservationists employed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 95% of the world’s lemur populations f...
AUG 20, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 20, 2018
Worker Ants Intelligently Regulate Tunnel-Digging Efforts to Avoid Jams
At first glance, any burrows look just like tiny dirt mounds on the ground. But just beneath these inconspicuous little mounds are complex mazes comprised ...
Loading Comments...