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Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis

Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
Scientific classification
Binomial nomenclature
Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis

Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis is a frog species from the hills in the west of India. It was discovered in 2003 and forms its own family, marking the first discovery of a new frog family since 1926.

The scientific name derives from the Sanskrit word nasika (nose) referring to the pointed snout, batrachus Greek for frog, and Sahyadri as the local names of the hills where it was found -- these hills in the state of Kerala is commonly known as the Western Ghats.

The frog spends most of the year underground, and only surfaces for about two weeks during the monsoon for mating. This seclusive lifestyle made it escape biologists until now. The frog is dark purple in color, seven centimeters in length, and has a small head and a pointy snout.

The species was discovered by Franky Bossuyt from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) and S.D. Biju from the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Palode, India.

The frog forms a living fossil as the only surviving species of the Nasikabatrachidae family. According to genetic analysis it is distantly related to the family Sooglossidae, which is found on the Seychelles islands. The two families split about 100 million years ago, which fits with the geologic history of India. At that time India, the Seychelles and Madagascar formed a single landmass which split due to the continental drift.