Pointy pig-nose, stumpy limbs and shiny, purple skin--does that sound like a perfect description of a frog? No?
Meet this oddly adorable frog called Nasikabatrachus bhupathi! Discovered in the Western Ghats mountain range in India, this critter is named after researchers' colleague, Dr. Subramaniam Bhupathy who lost his life in the same place in 2014.
Such species may look different from its own kind but its quirk is actually just a product of countless years of evolution. If you look closer, its small eyes also has a light blue ring around it. Its short limbs have hardened 'spades' that help the frog survive living below the ground. Never thought you'd see a frog with long snout, did you?
Well, this feature are very useful to them, too. These amphibians need not to surface to eat but just slurps up the ants and termites underground, says co-author Elizabeth Prendini, a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.
“This frog lineage is very ancient, and has a very low diversity, so this finding is very special and unusual,” says Prendini.
Moreover, these purple frogs can be persuaded to go out of their underground homes; all you need is some rain! Male frogs would make loud call during monsoon season, says Ramesh Aggarwal, senior author of the new study and a molecular geneticist at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India.
This signals the start of mating that will take place in the streams where the resulting fertilized eggs would then be deposited. Just wait then for a day or two to see these eggs hatch into tadpoles.
But even as babies, they are already different from all other species: they start to develop baby snouts that's more of like those of the suckerfish's mouth. No need to swim too for they use these bizarre openings to cling to the rock behind waterfalls where they also feed on algae. These tadpoles spend about 120 days in the torrent, says Karthikeyan Vasudevan, coauthor, biologist, and colleague of Aggarwal’s at CCMB.
“This is the longest the species appears above ground during its entire lifetime,” says Vasudevan.
Well, it's really a wonderful world out there with so much to explore to, don't you think?
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