New frog species discovered for the first time in 40 years


Natural heritage: The frog was named Subaraj’s paddy frog after the late conservationist. — The Straits Times/ANN

THE quest to identify a mysterious frog first recorded along Old Upper Thomson road three years ago has led to the discovery of a whole new frog species at a Kranji site littered with trash.

The last time a frog species was discovered here was nearly 40 years ago.

The greyish-brown frog, which is barely bigger than a marble, was named Subaraj’s paddy frog (Micryletta subaraji) after the late conservationist Subaraj Rajathurai, Sankar Ananthanarayanan, president of the Herpetological Society of Singapore (HSS), said.

“Lots of places and wildlife in the region are named after colonial-era figures such as Stamford Raffles and Alfred Russel Wallace.

“It is only recently that regional scientists have become more prominent, so we wanted to name the frog after Subaraj, who was as much an inspiration to us,” added Sankar, 27.Subaraj is renowned for helping to save some of Singapore’s beloved green spaces, including the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, as well as fighting to protect the Republic’s remaining habitats amid projects such as the Cross Island Line.

“Like Subaraj, the frog, which has so far been found only in Singapore, is a priceless national and natural heritage that needs to be appreciated,” said Dr Chan Kin Onn, 38, curator of herpetology at the NUS Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. — The Straits Times/ANN

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