Connect with us


Taxonomists discover new ‘true frog’ genus from South-east Asia



by Ifham Nizam

Discovering new species is fundamental for the expansion of knowledge of the endangered biodiversity of the planet, a large part of which still remains unknown to science.

It is rare to discover a completely new genus or higher taxon. Most new species discovered nowadays are part of well-known genus.

A group of taxonomists discovered a new genus of ‘true frogs’ and ‘ranid frogs’, which scientifically belong to Family Ranidae, according to a research article in the latest edition of the Journal of Asian Biodiversity, ‘Taprobanica’.

The new genus is named as “Bijurana” in honour of Prof. Sathyabhama Das Biju of the University of Delhi, India, for his enormous contribution towards amphibian research and conservation in the Indian subcontinent.

Prof. Biju is renowned as “the frogman of India” for bringing fresh fascination for Indian amphibians. He has discovered hundreds of new species new genera as well as new families. This world renowned taxonomist has been working very closely with many Sri Lankan amphibian taxonomists for decades.

The research of discovering new genus was conducted by three expert herpetologists and taxonomists in the Asian region, S. R. Chandramouli, an Indian researcher at Pondicherry University, Amir Hamidy, an Indonesian researcher at Indonesian Institute of Sciences and Thasun Amarasinghe, a Sri Lankan researcher at University of Indonesia.

The frog family Ranidae comprised 26 genera in the world. Among these, 15 genera, namely Abavorana, Amolops, Chalcorana, Clinotarsus, Huia, Humerana, Hydrophylax, Hylarana, Indosylvirana, Merystogenis, Nidirana, Odorrana, Papurana, Pseudorana and Pterorana are in the Oriental Region.

The first systematic classification of true frogs of the genus rana was carried out by world- renowned, most senior amphibian expert in the world, Alain Dubois in 1992. Prof. Dubois placed the sub-Saharan African Ranid frogs into the genus Amnirana and placed the unique species, Hylorana nicobariensis found in Nicobar Islands in South and Southeast Asian genus, Sylvirana, considered the most appropriate placement for the species at the time.

However, subsequent researchers from different parts of the world reallocated the species into different genera during the past two decades from Sylvirana to Hylarana, Hylarana to Amnirana and thereafter from Amnirana to Indoylvirana.

Actually since the discovery of Hylorana nicobariensis in 1870, the taxonomists were unable to find the correct generic position of this species. Therefore, its generic position has changed more than 10 times during last 150 years.

The tree experts reassessed the systematic position of Nicobarese species based on an integrative approach of both phylogenetic and morphological affinities and described a new genus to solve the long disputed taxonomic issue of true frogs.

The team observed these animals during last decade in Nicobar and Indonesian Islands with the support of their respective institutes and governments. They also recorded calls of Nicobarese frogs and analyzed the sounds. The description of the new genus will shed new light on the conservation of the species, as the new genus is now endemic to Southeast Asia, which earlier considered distributed up to sub-Saharan Africa.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A



Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

Continue Reading


Senasinghe announces quitting politics



By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

Continue Reading


Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 



By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

Continue Reading