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Checklist of Indian amphibians updated, launched by ZSI

Lists 19 species being treated as Critically Endangered and 33 species as Endangered.

A comprehensive checklist of Indian amphibians has been updated and launched on the Zoological Survey of India(ZSI) website on January 18, with 19 species being treated as Critically Endangered and 33 species as Endangered.

The list is updated and launched by ZSI from time to time as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 1996, Nirmal U. Kulkarni, a herpetologist, field ecologist and conservationist from Mhadei Research Centre, told The Hindu on January 21.

“Since 2009, scientists of the ZSI in collaboration with other institutes have been updating the Indian amphibian checklist periodically,” Mr. Kulkarni said. “In 2009 the total number of species was 284. In 2010 it was 311, in 2011 it was 314, in 2012 and 2013 it was 342, in 2015 it was 384 and in 2017 it was 405 species.”

The present comprehensive checklist is updated with all the species names, their the IUCN Red List conservation status and year of discovery, available till December 2018 and it enlists 432 species of amphibians from India. The nomenclature followed is after Amphibian Species of the World database.

Data deficient species

Among the amphibians listed, 19 species are treated as Critically Endangered and 33 species as Endangered, he reiterated, stating that it highlights 19% of amphibians as data deficient species and about 39% as not assessed by IUCN.

“It is high time to assess the IUCN status for the Indian ‘Not Assessed’ amphibians (39%, 169 species) based on species specific field exploration,” pleaded the conservationist who works in Mahadayi-Western Ghat region.

Explaining the significance of this initiative, he said this updated comprehensive checklist will help students of Herpetology, researchers and conservation scientists as well as policy makers to understand the diversity of Indian amphibians and their up to date nomenclature.

This checklist is compiled by research scientists Dr K.P. Dinesh from the ZSI Western Regional Centre Pune, Dr C. Radhakrishnan from Calicut, Dr B.H. Channakeshavamurthy from ZSI Calicut, Mr. P. Deepak from Mount Carmel College Bengaluru and Mr. Kulkarni himself.

To the Indian amphibian checklist around 148 species have been added since the year 2009. Most of these additions are due to concerted efforts of amphibian researchers across the biodiversity hotspots of India.

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