The first of its kind survey of reptiles and amphibian species in Madhya Pradesh has recorded new species of frog, snake and lizard, earlier not reported in the state.
The new species include five species of frogs, four of snakes and three of lizards.
The study has also found an "undescribed" lizard species from Gekkonidae family, whose photo has been sent to experts in India and abroad for ascertaining whether it is a new species or just a variant.
The survey titled 'Inventorisation of Herpetofaunal Diversity of Madhya Pradesh' has recorded 79 species of reptiles and 19 species of amphibians.
Among reptiles, the study recorded 39 species of snakes, 27 species of lizards, 11 species of turtles and tortoises and one species each of crocodile and gharial. The survey will help to add hitherto unknown information on reptiles and amphibians of MP and help experts in conservation efforts and to initiate conservation awareness in fringe village areas.
The survey, held over a period of nearly a year in 2012, was commissioned by Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (MPCST). The survey was conducted by Ujjain-based Snake Research Organisation (SRO), a registered society for snake rescue, research and awareness.
The survey was conducted under the leadership of the founder of the Snake Research Organisation (SRO), Mukesh Ingle, 40, who was the principal investigator of the survey.
Some of the species recorded for the first time in the state include Syhadra cricket frog, Jordon's bull frog, Dobson's burrowing frog, smooth house gecko, giant south Indian gecko, lined supple skink, Foresten's cat snake, ornate flying snake and Indian smooth snake.
"Amphibians and reptiles of MP have never been surveyed extensively. No consolidated data as a whole is available on them. To fill this gap, we initiated this project, a first of its kind in the state," said Mukesh Ingle while talking to HT.
Ingle said during the field survey, they came across new range records for some reptilian and amphibian species. They also encountered a set of cryptic species and species whose specific status is yet to be determined.
Ingle said the survey was undertaken as part of the ongoing Herpetological Research and Conservation Programme under division of Herpetology of SRO. He said the survey was conducted in an around all the eco-regions of the state that included Malwa, Central, Chambal, Satpuda, Vindhyan and Bundelkhand. Through visual encounter search, opportunistic sightings and community feedback, for the survey Ingle and his team surveyed varied habitats in the state that included sub-tropical broad leaved hill forests, tropical moist deciduous forests, tropical dry deciduous forests, tropical thorn forests and so on.