Scientists stumbled on a unique tree frog in India that was believed to have already died out over a century ago.

The discovery – which also led researchers to reclassify the tree hole-breeding frogs as an entirely new genus – was made in the northeastern Indian jungles by Professor Sathyabhama Das Biju and his colleagues from the University of Delhi.

"This genus probably remained unnoticed because of its secretive life in high canopy tree holes," said Biju in a press release.

Frankixalus jerdonii frogs exhibited unusual qualities: Biju noted that the tadpoles would feed purely on their mothers’ eggs. These tree frogs give birth to gel-enveloped eggs, breed in water that accumulates in tree holes, and lay eggs on the walls of those holes.

The tree frogs have been found in substantial numbers but their populations are also facing extinction threats, as tropical forests are being rapidly cut down for human settlement and agriculture.

The researchers hope that the golf-ball-sized frogs would also be found in other locations such as China and Thailand. The frogs quietly inhabit tree holes up to 19 feet above the ground.

The newly-discovered frogs were initially found by accident back in 2007. Through DNA analysis, Biju’s team confirmed them as part of the new genus named after herpetologist Franky Bossuyt, Biju’s adviser at Belgium’s Vrije Universiteit.

Biju himself is referred to as India’s Frog Man, having discovered 89 of the 350 or so frog species in the country.

The findings were published Jan. 20 in the journal PLOS ONE.

A different team of scientists also recently discovered two new frog species in Madagascar, particularly at the Tsaratanana Massif Mountain or the island’s highest point.

The Spanish and German scientists found Rombophryne ornate and Rombophryne tany when they explored the remote rainforest in 2010, identifying them as new species based on criteria such as genetics, unique characteristics, and sounds they are making.

These new discoveries in the frog world vouch for the massive diversity of animals in tropical forests that still remain largely unexplored.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.