SAND EATING TADPOLES FOUND IN WESTERN GHATS
Researchers have discovered a sand-eating tadpole, adding to the burgeoning cache of frog-finds in India, which lives in total darkness, until it fully develops into a young frog.
These tadpoles of Indian Dancing frog family probably remained unnoticed all these years because of their fossorial [underground] nature, which in itself is a rare occurrence in the amphibian world. The tadpole belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family, Micrixalidae. They get that name from their habit of waving their legs as a sign of territorial and sexual display while sitting on boulders in streams. The purple tadpoles were discovered from the deep recesses of streambeds in the Western Ghats and they possess muscular eel-like bodies (extensive tail musculature aids in underground movements) and skin-covered eyes (To provide protection from abrasion), which helps them to burrow through gravel beds. Though they lack teeth, they have serrated jaw sheaths (act as a filter to prevent large sand particles from entering the mouth), to possibly prevent large sand grains from entering the mouth while feeding and moving through sand. Other unusual features of the tadpoles were ribs and whitish globular sacs storing calcium carbonate, known as “lime sacs.
Amphibians are cold blooded vertebrates that spend part of their lives on dry land and part in fresh water. A frog is an amphibian. They lay their eggs in water. The eggs hatch into a tadpole which lives in water until it metamorphoses into an adult frog. Tadpoles look more like fish than frogs; they have long finned tails and breathe through gills.Although frogs live on land their habitat must be near swamps, ponds or in a damp place. This is because they will die if their skin dries out.Instead of drinking water, frogs soak it into their body through their skin.Frogs breathe through their nostrils while also absorbing about half the air they need through their skin.Frogs can see forwards, sideways and upwards all at the same time. They never close their eyes, even when they sleep.
Older than the Himalaya mountains, The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Hills, are well known for their rich and unique assemblage of flora and fauna. Norman Myers included the Western Ghats amongst the 25 biodiversity hot-spots identified in the world. The Western Ghats extend from the Satpura Range in the north, go south past Goa, through Karnataka and into Kerala and Tamil Nadu end at Kanyakumari embracing Indian ocean. The northern portion of the narrow coastal plain between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is known as the Konkan Coast or simply Konkan, the central portion is called Kanara and the southern portion is called Malabar region or the Malabar Coast. At 2695m, Mt Anamudi in Kerala is the highest peak in the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats are being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also has an exceptionally high level of biological diversity (refer to the total number of different species on Earth) and endemism (a species which is only found in a given region or location and nowhere else in the world). These mountains cover an area of around 140,000 km² in a 1,600 km long stretch that is interrupted only by the 30 km Palghat Gap.