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Tadpoles of Indian Dancing Frog Finally Found After Being Secretive for More Than 125 years

Apr 01, 2016 04:50 AM EDT

After years of searching, scientists finally and successfully found the rare and secretive tadpoles of the Indian dancing frog in the sand beds of a forested stream in the Western Ghats of India.

According to the study, published in the journal PLOS One, tadpoles of the monotypic Indian dancing frog family, Micrixalidae, have remained difficult to understand for more than 125 years.

Prof. SD Biju from the University of Delhi said in the statement that these kinds of tadpoles are very hard to find because of their fossorial nature, meaning it has adopted a life of digging and living underground.

"We provide the first confirmed report of the tadpoles of Indian dancing frog family," said Prof. Biju.

The tadpoles that were found in the deep recesses of the sand beds were genetically confirmed as Micrixalus herrei.

Aside from living underground, which is very uncommon for amphibians, other notable traits found in the tadpoles are its muscular eel-like bodies and skin-covered eyes.

They also lack teeth but possess well-serrated jaws that help prevent sand grains from entering the mouth while digging or eating.

Using a double staining procedure, researchers examined the external morphology and scrutinized the bones of the tadpoles.

They discovered the presence of ribs in the early stages of the tadpoles. Lime sacs, which provide calcium carbonate, were also discovered inside the tadpoles and juvenile frogs.

According to Madhava Meegaskumbura from the University of Peradeniya, only four families of frogs are reported to have ribs, but the newly discovered tadpoles have developed ribs in an early stage.

"This adaptation may provide for greater muscle attachment, helping them wriggle through sand," he said.

The Indian dancing frog got it name due to its habit of waving its legs while sitting on boulders of streams as a sign of territorial and sexual display, as per a BBC report.

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