Taxonomic studies in India: Patterns, Processes, Causes and Consequences
Taxonomic Studies In
Patterns, Processes, Causes & Consequences
Gururaja KV, Ph.D.,
Research Scientist, IISc, Bangalore
Flow of the talk
Batrachology in India
◦ Taxonomic descriptions
over time, space, authors,
◦ Processes behind such
◦ Reasons for the spurt in
◦ What next!
◦ Journey of an ecologist in
Whom do you call amphibians?
Those vertebrates that live both in water as well as
That means ...we too?
In fact, amphibians are ...
Dual lifers ...
◦ Two stages in life – a tadpole stage and an adult
◦ From Greek, Amphi – dual, bian – life forms
What’s unique in them?
Generally, aquatic and terrestrial
inhabitants, Some are arboreal, and some
They metamorphose from
tadpole to adult
Life span: from 10 months
to 55 years
Body temperature externally maintained
Hiding away from Sun
Basking in Sun
Batrachology in India
As of today 308 species, belonging to 14 families,
54 genera (4.64% of 6638 species in the world),
248 Species described from India (80.5%)
124 authors, single species description to as
many as 43 species
Since 2000, 81 new species (33%) with 46 papers
on Taxonomy and taxonomy related issues, 12 on
ecology, 6 on reproduction, 10 on others
So Taxonomy ‘rules’ at present Indian
Research in Batrachology
Viviparity in caecilians
Gower et al., 2008. J Evol Biol. 21(5):1220-6
Frog skipping tadpole stage
Gururaja and Ramachandra, 2006. Curr. Sci. 90(3):450-454
Biju and Bossyut, 2003. Nature. 425: 711–714
India’s smallest frog
Biju et al., 2007. Current Science 93(6): 854-858.
Skin extracts and pesticidal
1. Giri et al., 2006. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2006.06.011
2. Sai et al., 2001. doi:10.1074/jbc.M006615200
3. Gurushankara et al., 2007. doi:10.1007/s00244-006-0015-5
Conservation and Management
Das, A., Krishnaswamy, J., Bawa, K. S., Kiran, M. C., Srinivas, V., Kumar, N. S., et al. 2006.
Prioritization of conservation areas in the Western Ghats, India. Biological Conservation,
Gururaja KV, Sameer Ali and Ramachandra TV. 2008. Influence of land-use changes in
river basins on diversity and distribution of amphibians. In: Environment Education
for Ecosystem Conservation
What was the reason?
No proper typification
No specimen deposition in a museum
No knowledge of ICZN Codes to the
To certain extent...”EGO”
What we did...?
Called up first author! ...
Joined hands with ZSI people, who
happened collect one individual with
permission from Kudremukh
They also contacted first author...No
Took decision, after an year of
communication with first author, to
publish it with a new name....
So N. karnatakaensis...replaced
Uproar among the seniors ...
Deniels wrote “Taxonomic Vandalism...” in
But we responded in most polite way,
though protested to the Editor of the
Journal on using such words and in most
scientific way lambasted “Vandalism”
To look further
Do not lose original tree
for phylogentic tree
etc...to understand a
Make taxonomy a After Odem (1971)
passion and not a
Take it to simpler level
Eight steps to Enlightenment and
Taxonomic Nirvana – Evanhuis (2007)
enjoyment of nature
enjoyment of collecting
enjoyment of sorting
enjoyment of the discovery
enjoyment of researching taxonomic
enjoyment of describing
enjoyment of submitting your
manuscript for publication.
enjoyment of educating others
There was a time, when
taxonomist used to describe more
than 5 species in a single paper
Now we are in such a time, where
5 papers are written on a single
Do not get into the ‘RAT
www.wikipedia.org for photographs of
Boulenger, Gunther, Jerdon and Annandale
Current Science for CRN Rao’s
Advance wishes for
SAVE THE FROG DAY
(APRIL 30TH 2010)