ArticlePDF Available
CURRENT SCIEN CE, VOL. 109, NO. 3, 10 AUGUST 2015 4 13
A record of Scutiger nyingchiensis Fei, 1977 (Amphibia: Anuran:
Megophryidae) in the Eastern Himalaya, North East India
The ecologically and geographically
diverse region of North East (NE) India
is set within two global biodi versity hot-
spots, namely, the Himalayan and the
Indo-Burma. Arunachal Pradesh, a state
in NE India, falls under the Himalayan
biodiversity hotspot, which is among the
34 biodiversity hotspots of the world1.
However, its rich biodiversity is poorly
understood with regard to the species-
level identification of many of its extant
amphibians and reptiles2. A total of 126
amphibian species are reported from NE
India, out of which 45 species are ende-
mic to this region3. Recently, three new
species of horned frogs, namely Mego-
phrys vegrandis, Megophrys ancrae and
Megophrys oropedion have been reported
from NE India, viz. Arunachal Pradesh
and Meghalaya2.
In the recent survey of high-altitude
areas in Arunachal Pradesh, we recorded
eight live individuals of Scutiger species
from the alpine zone of the Sela Pass
area (2730–25.40N and 926–18.30E;
altitude 4169 m amsl), in Tawang dis-
trict. One individual of Scutiger species
was recorded on 24 November 2013.
Furthermore, an aggregate of seven indi-
viduals along with their fertilized egg
masses was recorded on 4 June 2014.
They were photographed for the study of
morphological characteristics and re-
leased later in their natural habitat. The
morphological characteristics of the spe-
cies were examined with the available
literature on Scutiger species4 ,5. The
morphological characteristics were
matched and confirmed with the diagnos-
tic morphologies of Scutiger nyingchien-
sis Fei, 1977 (Figure 1), commonl y
known as Nyingchi Alpine Toad, belong-
ing to the family Megophr yidae. So far,
there is no authentic report of distribu-
tion of S. nyingchiensis in the Eastern
Figure 1 . Male Scutiger nyingchiensis recorded from Sela L ake, Tawang distri ct, Arunachal Pradesh, India. a, Dorsa l view (24 November 2013).
b, Head profile (24 November 2013). c, Dorsal view (4 June 2014). d, Ventr al view: two pairs of dark brown cornified patches (4 June 2014).
e, Left hand: nuptial dark-brown cornifi ed patch on dor sal surface of the fi rst and second finger s and inner side of the third finger (4 June 2014).
f, Right ha nd: ventral view, fi rst and se cond fingers equal in length (24 November 2013). g, A breeding pair (4 June 2014). h, Cluster of eggs at-
tached to a qua tic su bstratum (4 June 2014).
CURRENT SCIEN CE, VOL. 109, NO. 3, 10 AUGUST 2015 414
Himalaya in general and Arunachal
Pradesh in particular.
The key morphological characteristics
of the male S. nyingchiensis observed are
listed below:
(I) Body long and narrow, head wider
than long; no tympanum.
(II) Dorsal skin rough; dorsal warts
raised and elongated, with numerous
spines on each wart. Warts around
cloaca and the bases of the outer thighs
(III) Toes half-webbed; the first and
second finger equal in length. Nuptial
dark brown cornified pads on the dorsal
surface of the first and second fingers
and the inner side of third finger.
(IV) Two pairs of dark brown corni-
fied patches and one pair of axillary
gland on the male chest, with the outer
cornified patch smaller than the inner
patch. No cornified patches on the ab-
(V) Dorsal dark greyish-olive, lateral
body light yellowish-brown; ventral
greenish-yellow. An inverted triangular
mark from the upper eyelid to the snout.
(VI) Snout-vent length measured 52
mm (male) and 60 mm (female).
There are 19 known species of the ge-
nus Scutiger; most of them are endemic
to China6,7. The genus Scutiger is repor-
ted from India, the Tibetan Plateau in
southwestern China, Burma, Nepal,
northern Pakist an and Bhutan at an alti-
tudinal range 1000–5000 m amsl,
whereas distribution of S. nyingchiensis
is known from northern Pakistan, Tibet
and the northern most part of India3,8.
Two species of genus Scutiger reported
from India till date are S. nyingchiensis
and S. siki mmenesis; the former is found
in Jammu and Kashmir whereas the latter
is distributed in West Bengal, Sikkim
and Meghal aya8.
Although S. nyingchiensis is catego-
rized as a least concern species by IUCN,
its population abundance within Arunachal
Pradesh is still unknown. Therefore, fur-
ther population assessments of the spe-
cies within this fragile ecological range
is required to determine its current popu-
lation st atus and conservation strategy.
1. Mittermeier, R. A. e t al., Conserv. Int.,
2005 , p. 392.
2. Mahony, S., Teel ing, E. C. and Biju, S. D.,
Zootaxa, 2013, 3722(2), 143–169 ; doi. org/
10.11646/zoota xa.37 22.2.2.
3. Pra tihar , S. et al., Sauria, 2014, 36(1 ), 9–
4. Khan, M. S., Bu ll. Ch icag o Herpetol.
Soc., 2005, 40(4), 70–71.
5. Fei, L., Ye, C. and Huang, Y., An Illus-
trated Key to Chine se A mphibians, Sichuan
Publishing House of Science and Techno -
logy, Sichu an, China , 2005, pp. 61 –65.
6. Jiang, K. et al., Zoo taxa, 2012, 3388, 29–
7. Fei, L., Hu, S. Q ., Ye, C. Y. and Hua ng, Y.
Z., Faun a Sinica, Amphibia, Science Press,
Beiji ng, 2 009 , vol. 2, pp. 1–957.
8. Molur, S. and Walker, S. (eds), Report of
the work shop Conservation Asses smen t
and Management Plan for Amphibians o f
India (BCPP-Endangered Species Pro-
ject), Zoo Outreach Organisa tion, Conser-
vation Breeding Sp ecialist Gr oup, India,
1998 , p. 93.
New Delhi; A. D as (Wildlife Institute o f
India , Dehra dun) ; P. Wahule (DFO, Tawang
district) and S. Borah, J. Deka, R. Shah (De-
partment of Environmental Science, Tezpur
University) for help.
Receiv ed 18 Febru ary 2015; revised accepted
30 April 2015
1Department of Environmental Science,
Tezpur University,
Napaam 784 028, India
2Department of Forestry,
North Eastern Regional Institute of
Science and Technology,
Nirjuli 791 109, India
3School of Biological Sciences,
Washington State University Pullman,
Washington 99163, USA
*For correspondence.
... Aruanchal Pradesh-the easternmost state of India-due to its close proximity with Xizang Province of China and sharing similar topological features, has a high chance of harbouring many species of amphibians distributed in China, especially Xizang. In recent decades, a few Chinese frog species have been reported from India (Ao et al., 2003;Borah et al., 2013;Sarania et al., 2015), while a few Indian frogs (described from Arunachal Pradesh) were reported from Xizang, China (Li et al., 2016;Liang et al., 2017); however, such findings are far less than what the geographical similarities suggest. ...
... Despite sharing a long frontier and similar topological features with China, only a few Chinese amphibian species have been reported to occur in Northeast India (Ao et al., 2003;Borah et al., 2013;Sarania et al., 2015). The reason could be many, like non accessibility of frontier regions, no proper surveys or even sometimes, the non availability of translation of the original description into English for comparisons. ...
... Sarkar and Ray (2006) reported 39 species of amphibians from Arunachal Pradesh, which was revised up to 63 species (Bordoloi and Borah, 2009). Over the years, there has been many new species and new range extensions into the State (Sondhi and Ohler, 2011;Kamei et al., 2013;Mahony et al., 2013;Saikia et al., 2017a and b), including 2 new India records (Borah et al., 2013;Sarania et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
The endemic Asian megophryid genus Megophrys is represented by a total of 77 species of which 14 are reported to occur in India. Due to its close proximity to China, Arunachal Pradesh- the easternmost state of India- is believed to harbor many species of amphibians endemic to China. One such Megophrys species endemic to China, Megophrys pachyproctus, is reported herein this paper as the first record for India, based on a single specimen collected from Talle Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh.
... Of late, however, there has been some good news, thanks largely to the untiring efforts of dedicated herpetologists from the region as well as the country. Some of the recent additions to the amphibian fauna of Arunachal Pradesh are Polypedates subansiriensis and Rhacophorus subansisriensis (Mathew and Sen, 2009), Leptobrachium bompu (Sondhi and Ohler, 2011), Xenophrys ancrae and X. vegrandis (Mahony et al., 2013), Liurana medogensis (Borah et al., 2013) and Scutiger nyingchiensis (Sarania et al., 2015), Nanorana arunachalensis (Saikia et al., 2017b), Xenophrys himalayana and X. periosa (Mahony et al., 2018), Xenophrys pachyproctus (Saikia and Sinha, 2018) Microhyla eos , Liurana himalayana, L. indica and L. minuta (Saikia and Sinha, 2019), Nasutixalus medogensis (Biju et al., 2020), Amolops adicola (Patel et al., 2021) and Amolops aniqiaoensis (Saikia et al., 2022a). ...
Full-text available
The present study on the amphibians of Arunachal Pradesh has been carried out by making fresh collections from more than 100 localities in the State, besides the studies on the museum specimens of this group from the State housed in APRC/ZSI, Itanagar, DNGC, Itanagar and NERC/ZSI, Shillong. Altogether, 433 specimens of anurans were studied and based on previous literatures and range extension reports, the current amphibian diversity of the State stands at 96 species, with 92 species of anurans, one species of caudata and three species of gymnophiona. Out of these we could physically examined only 59 species of anurans and the rest are included in this faunal account based on published records. The 96 species are under 38 genera, 10 families and all the three living orders. Besides, findings of this study has also led to description of four new species (Nanorana arunachalensis, Liurana himalayana, L. indica and L. minuta); two new India records (Amolops aniqiaoensis and Xenophrys pachyproctus) and five new state records (Odorrana livida, Polypedates assamensis, Xenophrys monticola, Chirixalus simus and Nasutixalus cf. jerdonii) and also highlighted the gap areas that needs to be addressed in terms of Amphibian diversity and systematics of this Himalayan State.
... Arunachal Pradesh is one of the least explored areas in terms of amphibian diversity. In recent years, however, studies on this group of fauna has led to a number of new India reports and as well as new species descriptions (Mathew and Sen, 2009;Sondhi and Ohler, 2011;Mahony et al., 2013;Borah et al, 2013;Sarania et al., 2015;Saikia et al., 2017;Mahony et al., 2018;Saikia et al., 2018). ...
Megophrys longipes maosonensis, described from Mao Son, Vietnam is long considered to be a junior synonym of Megophrys major species complex. However, recently, it has been resurrected from its synonymy into a valid species, with its distribution restricted to Vietnam and the adjacent areas of China. In 2015, we have made a sample collection of Megophrys from Tale Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh on which we performed DNA barcoding using fragments of mitochondrial 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA. This has resulted in the specimen being identified as M. maosonensis making it a new record for India.
... A SIAN lazy toads of the genus Scutiger Theobald, 1868, are widely distributed along the Himalayan Tibetan Mountains, through the Hengduan Mountains to western China (Fei et al., 2009(Fei et al., , 2012Sarania et al., 2015;Fei and Ye, 2016;Jiang et al., 2016;Frost, 2017;Hofmann et al., 2017), and inhabit high altitude montane streams and surrounding areas up to 5100 m a.s.l. (Fei et al., 2009(Fei et al., , 2012Fei and Ye, 2016;Hofmann et al., 2017). ...
During recent surveys in Gaoligongshan Mountain Range, Yunnan Province of China, we collected specimens of Scutiger from montane stream area at an elevation of 3000 m. Subsequent study based on morphological, molecular and acoustic data reveals that the newly collected specimens represent an unknown taxon and is described herein: Scutiger tengchongensis sp. nov.. The new species can be distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: (1) relatively small size (adult males SVL 36.0–40.1 mm, n=8); (2) vomerine teeth absent; (3) dorsum with large prominent, conical-shaped and longitudinal tubercles; (4) large tubercles on dorsum covered by numerous tiny black spines in males in breeding condition; (5) a pair of pectoral glands and a pair of axillary glands present on the chest, and covered by dense tiny black spines in males in breeding condition; (6) pectoral gland about twice the size of axillary gland; (7) inner three fingers with black nuptial spines in males in breeding condition; (8) nuptial spines on first and second fingers larger than those on third finger; (9) black spines on the belly absent; (10) vocal sac absent; and (11) toes webbing rudimentary. The discovery of S. tengchongensis sp. nov. represents the southernmost record of the genus worldwide, and the new species is the smallest known member of the genus in body size.
... Borah et al. (2013) described Taylorana medongensis from Arunachal, a species now allocated to Liurana (Yan et al. 2016). Scutiger nyingchiensis was reported from Arunachal Pradesh by Sarania et al. (2015) which was previously reported only from Jammu & Kashmir. Recently a new species of Odorrana, O. arunachalensis, was reported from Lower Subansiri district (Saikia et al. 2017). ...
We report on a checklist of 58 species of amphibians (1 species of Gymnophiona and 57 species of Anura) from Arunachal Pradesh based on voucher specimens. The data were collected during surveys with implementation of central Government sponsored projects and doctoral work of students from 1997 to 2013. Xenophrys medogensis, Chaparana gammii, Paa conaensis, Paa chayuensis and Kaloula assamensis have their distribution extended to Arunachal Pradesh. Bufo cyphosus Ye, 1977 is proposed as a junior synonym of Bufo stuarti Smith, 1935.
... Subsequently, many more species have been added to the amphibian fauna of Arunachal Pradesh by different workers either as new records or new discoveries. Some of these latest additions were through the works of Mathew & Sen (2009), Borah et al (2013, Kamei et al (2009Kamei et al ( , 2013, Mahony et al. (2013), Additions to the Amphibian fauna of Arunachal Pradesh, India, Eastern Himalaya Sarania et al (2015), Biju et al (2016) and many others. In addition to all these, we report another 4 new records of Anuran amphibians from this Himalayan state of India based mainly on the study of unidentified collections preset in the Arunachal Pradesh Regional Centre (APRC) of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Itanagar. ...
... Recently, Sarania et al. (2015) reported S. nyingchiensis from the China-India Disputed Region based on photographic evidence without vouchered specimens. However, based on the morphological characters described and shown in their photos, such as the rudimentary webbings on toes, the presence of spines on tubercles in females, and an inverted triangular mark of pigmentation from the upper eyelid to the snout, these individuals possess diagnostic characters of the new species, and thus are likely to be S. spinosus instead of S. nyingchiensis. ...
Full-text available
A new species of Scutiger Theobald, 1868 is described from Medog, southeastern Tibet, China, based on morphological and molecular data. The new species was previously identified as Scutiger nyingchiensis, but it can be differentiated from the latter and all other congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) medium adult body size, SVL 50.5-55.6 mm in males and 53.8-57.2 mm in females; (2) maxillary teeth absent; (3) web rudimentary between toes; (4) prominent, conical-shaped tubercles on dorsal and lateral surfaces of body and limbs; (5) tubercles covered by black spines in both sexes in breeding condition; (6) a pair of pectoral glands and a pair of axillary glands present and covered by black spines in males in breeding condition, width of axillary gland less than 50% of pectoral gland; (7) nuptial spines present on dorsal surface of first and second fingers, and inner side of third finger in males in breeding condition; (8) spines absent on the abdominal region; (9) vocal sac absent. In addition, the distribution and conservation status of the new species are also discussed.
Under the Duplostensional Nomenclatural System, the valid nomen of the class including all recent amphibians and all the Palaeozoic groups of anamniote tetrapods subsequent to the ‘lissamphibian-amniote phylogenetic split’ is the sozodiaphonym Amphibia Blainville, 1816. This corresponds to the usage that has been in force for two centuries in thousands of publications, and it should not be challenged, as this would entail instability and confusion.
Full-text available
A new species of Scutiger Theobald, 1868 is described from Medog, southeastern Tibet, China. Scutiger wuguanfui sp. nov. is distinguished from congeners in the following combination of characters: (1) large adult size, female is much larger than male; (2) maxillary teeth absent; (3) male with a pair of pectoral glands and a pair of axillary glands, axillary glands similar to pectoral glands, all of them covered by black spines in breeding season; (4) in breeding male, nuptial spines on dorsal surface of first and second fingers, and inner side of third finger; (5) male with an internal single subgular vocal sac, a pair of slit-like openings of vocal sac near corners of the mouth. This new species is currently known only from the type locality.
Full-text available
Abstract Northeast India is a well-established region of biological importance but remains poorly understood with regards to the species level identifications of many of its extant amphibians. In this study we examined small sized frogs from the genus Megophrys recently collected from remote and suburban forests in the northeast Indian states of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, from which we have identified three new species. Megophrys vegrandis sp. nov., Megophrys ancrae sp. nov. and Megophrys oropedion sp. nov. are compared with all known congeners from India and surrounding regions from which they differ based primarily on a combination of morphological characters. Megophrys boettgeri is removed, and Megophrys minor added to the Indian amphibian checklist, through critical review of all literature pertaining to the former species, and the discovery of an overlooked historical report of the latter species. Two of the new species, Megophrys ancrae sp. nov. and Megophrys vegrandis sp. nov. are known from low and mid elevations within two large protected forests in Arunachal Pradesh, both with poorly studied amphibian fauna. Contrastingly, Megophrys oropedion sp. nov. is currently known only from small forested areas on the upper reaches of the Shillong Plateau. The importance of the Shillong Plateau as an area of known high amphibian endemicity is highlighted in the light of the miniscule proportion of its land area afforded government protection, raising concerns about the future conservation of its still poorly known species. Key words: Amphibian; taxonomy; morphology; chresonymy; Megophryinae; Megophrys parva; baluensis; montana; Philautus kempii
An Illustrated Key to Chinese Amphibians, Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology
  • L Fei
  • C Ye
  • Y Huang
Fei, L., Ye, C. and Huang, Y., An Illustrated Key to Chinese Amphibians, Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology, Sichuan, China, 2005, pp. 61-65.
Report of the workshop 'Conservation Assessment and Management Plan for Amphibians of India' (BCPP-Endangered Species Project), Zoo Outreach Organisation, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
  • S Molur
  • S Walker
Molur, S. and Walker, S. (eds), Report of the workshop 'Conservation Assessment and Management Plan for Amphibians of India' (BCPP-Endangered Species Project), Zoo Outreach Organisation, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, India, 1998, p. 93.
Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun); P. Wahule (DFO, Tawang district)
  • Acknowledgements We Thank
  • New Delhi
  • A Das
  • S Borah
  • J Deka
  • R Shah
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We thank DST, New Delhi; A. Das (Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun); P. Wahule (DFO, Tawang district) and S. Borah, J. Deka, R. Shah (Department of Environmental Science, Tezpur University) for help.
Fauna Sinica, Amphibia
  • L Fei
  • S Q Hu
  • C Y Ye
  • Y Z Huang
Fei, L., Hu, S. Q., Ye, C. Y. and Huang, Y. Z., Fauna Sinica, Amphibia, Science Press, Beijing, 2009, vol. 2, pp. 1-957.
  • M S Khan
  • Bull
Khan, M. S., Bull. Chicago Herpetol. Soc., 2005, 40(4), 70-71.
  • K Jiang
Jiang, K. et al., Zootaxa, 2012, 3388, 29-40.
  • R A Mittermeier
Mittermeier, R. A. et al., Conserv. Int., 2005, p. 392.
  • S Pratihar
Pratihar, S. et al., Sauria, 2014, 36(1), 9-57.