New frogs found. And they dance.
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Fourteen new species of dancing frogs have been found. They are in the jungle mountains of southern India.
The tiny amphibians earned their name with the unusual kicks they use to attract mates. One problem, though. When Indian scientists studied them for 12 years, the species has declined in number. The frogs breed after the yearly monsoon in fast-rushing streams. But their habitat appears to be increasingly dry.
Only the males dance. It's a unique breeding behavior called foot-flagging. They stretch, extend and whip their legs out to the side. This draws the attention of females who might have trouble hearing mating croaks. That's because of the sound of water flowing through streams.
The bigger the frog, the more they dance. They also use those leg extensions to smack away other males. That's important. The ratio for the amphibians is usually around 100 males to one female.
These are tiny, delicate frogs no bigger than a walnut. The frogs are found exclusively in the Western Ghats. It's a lush mountain range that stretches 990 miles from the western state of Maharashtra to the country's southern tip.
The Western Ghats is older than the Himalayas. It's among the world's most biologically exciting regions. It holds at least a quarter of all Indian species. Yet in recent decades, the region has faced a constant assault by mining, water pollution, unregulated farming and loss of habitat to human settlements.