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
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
(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.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. W e thank DST,
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
BIDYUT SARANI A1
ASHALAT A DEVI1,*
AWADHE SH KUM AR2
1Department of Environmental Science,
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