A century-old misconception about amphibians in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot has just been resolved. A team of biologists led by Satyabhama Das Biju has documented six new species of golden-backed frogs, amphibians that have so far been mistakenly identified as Hylarana temporalis, their Sri Lankan cousins. The findings published in the journal Contributions to Zoology show that the Western Ghats have a much more diverse amphibian population that previously thought.
The Indian golden-backs belong to six different species, each found within their own narrow geographies.
Hylarana temporalis, also called Günther’s golden-backed frog, was believed to be distributed throughout the Western Ghats, from the southern tip in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, up to Maharashtra. However,it seems that it has never actually existed in India. Biju and his team conducted a decade-long survey in the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, and analysed the DNA and morphology evidences of Indian golden-backs to show that there are no common golden-backed frog species in India and Sri Lanka.
The researchers were also surprised to find one of the new species of these forest inhabitants in the urban environs of Kochi. “This sends a clear message that unrecognised species diversity in the Western Ghats not only exists in forest areas, but sometimes very close to our homes as well,” said Biju, who is known as the “frogman of India”. But this doesn’t mean that the Kochi frog, Hylarana urbis, is a natural city dweller. It was found in a highly disturbed habitat and faces a constant threat from human activities.
Frogs are a barometer species for the health of an ecosystem because they are highly sensitive to environmental changes. The discovery reinforces what scientists fear: that much of the natural habitat of the Western Ghats is being lost even before all its species richness can be identified and documented. “With this kind of revised information about species identity and distribution ranges, a reassessment of conservation status is required to understand the real threats that many of the newly described species may be facing,” Biju said.
Here are images of the newly found golden-backed frogs.
Don's golden-backed Frog (Hylarana doni). Found in southern Kerala.
Indian golden-backed frog (Hylarana indica). Found in Karnataka and adjoining regions in northern Kerala.
Large golden-backed frog (Hylarana magna). Found in Agasthyamala hills in southern Kerala.
Maharashtra golden-backed frog (Hylarana caesari). Found in southern Maharashtra.
Sreeni’s golden-backed frog (Hylarana sreeni). Found in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Urban golden-backed frog (Hylarana urbis). Found in Kochi and adjoining urban areas.
We asked them and here's the verdict: Scotch is one of the #GiftsMenLove
A handy guide to buying a gift for a guy.
Valentine’s day is around the corner so men and women everywhere are racking their brains for the perfect present. Buying a gift for men though can be a stressful experience. Be it a birthday, celebration or personal milestone, many men and women find it difficult to figure out what their male friends or significant others want. That’s why TVF decided to perform a public service and ask the guys directly what they loved. So, the next time you’re running around to buy a gift for a man, just pick something from the list below and thank us later.
Watches: A watch can complete a man’s ensemble and quickly become a talking (or bragging) point at a party. If your man loves classics, a vintage HMT (if you can find one) with a metal strap should be your brand of choice. For fun-loving guys, try a Swatch watch with a pop-coloured leather strap or even a watch with Swarovski crystal studded dials from a variety of watchmakers. Fossil’s unconventional dials will delight a creative or artistic soul. Alternatively, the G-shock collection by Casio is reasonably priced, waterproof and perfect for those who love adventure sports. If your man is a fitness enthusiast, surprise him with an excellent fitness band from GoQii.
Whisky: A well stocked bar is every man’s pride and joy. Whisky, especially scotch is an extremely popular gift with men. It is a gift that can be displayed with pride and shared on occasions with friends and family. Scotch is any whisky (single malt or blended) that comes from Scotland, is usually aged for at least three years (often more) and distilled twice. Each region in Scotland produces whisky with a distinct flavor. Spirits from Islay, like Laphroaig, tend to have a strong peat flavor while single malts from Speyside tend to be lighter and sweeter. Connoisseurs will sing praises of the golden colour of blends like Johnny Walker or Black and White, and the smoky taste of Scotch whiskies like Black Dog. If your partner is truly mad about malts, go the whole hog and surprise him with a malt tour in Scotland - the ultimate whisky experience.
Jackets: For a more personal touch, a jacket can be quite an apt gift. A romantic-at-heart will love a traditional bandhgala while bike enthusiasts swear by their weather-worn leather jackets. Blazers are great day-to-night apparel, looking perfectly at home in the office or in a bar. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to brands and designers: high street labels like Blackberry’s and Zara offer trendy outerwear at affordable prices. Custom made jackets like the ones from Raymond’s Made-To-Measure collection or the Bombay Shirt Company are also a great option, if you really want to get creative with the design.
Sunglasses: If your friend is a globetrotter, a smart pair of shades will delight him like nothing else. Whether he is sunbathing in the Maldives, chasing zebras in Tanzania or skiing in Courchevel, this travel accessory adds an instant glam quotient to almost every type of holiday. Recent sunglass trends have been a major throwback to retro shapes inspired from Hollywood films like Tom Cruise’s aviators from Top Gun, Steve McQueen’s Persols from The Thomas Crown Affair or the wayfarers sported by the lead actors in The Blues Brothers. You’ll find many variations at high street brands like H&M and Diesel but if you can stretch the budget, pick up a good quality pair from Burberry or Louis Vuitton. Better yet, buy a unisex design that you can borrow when your heart desires!
Headphones: Most guys love their music, whether their choice of genre is soft rock, hard metal or folk fusion. So, it makes sense that headphones are on the list of the most popular gifts loved by men. Make sure you know what you’re looking for when it comes to buying headphones. For style combined with comfort, Skull Candy headphones come in a fun palette of colours. For amazing sound quality and pumping bass, you can opt for Shure or Sennheiser; they may look basic but deliver on their audio capabilities. Audio-Technica headphones are also gaining a cult following among audiophiles for their excellent sound clarity. If your man listens to music while working out, get the Jabra Sports in-ear headphones which are made for the gym. Though it feels pragmatic, this gift will be treasured by all music lovers.
So, take a pick from this list and the guy you gift will be indebted to you for life! For more great gifting ideas, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of LiveInStyle and not by the Scroll editorial team.