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Longer tails, no 'night life' tadpoles changing

Dehradun: In a first-of-its-kind study done by scientists of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), two tadpole species in the IUCN red list 'Nanorana Minica' and 'Nanorana Vicina' - were found exhibiting strange behavioural and morphological changes due to "increased human intervention in their habitats".
The tadpoles are endemic to the Himalayas and survive harsh winters of sub-zero temperatures even at 9,000 ft and above. They metamorphose into froglets after at least a year.
This process, of species waiting out winter till the food is available and the temperature is suitable, is called "overwintering" Scientists, who are studying them for the first time, have named them the "coolest tadpoles" because they have been "identified in the country for the first time" and are the only ones that have survived the cold winters of Himalayas. 
Additionally, those that metamorphose like this are found only in North America. The scientists studied these tadpoles in stream pools where check dams were placed as well as in natural pools. The nocturnal species appeared "highly active during the day" around check dams, thus exposing them to predators that were active at the same time such as fish, birds, and crustaceans. They appeared to have grown longer tails, which Dr Abhijit Da, one of the authors of the study, said was "an adaptation needed to flee predators".
However, in natural streams, they displayed "normal" behaviour, leading scientists to draw the inference that it was mainly in stream pools where human intervention had taken place that the species were displaying changes in their behaviour and morphology.
Explaining the possible series of changes, the lead author of the study, V Jithin, said, "The long tail, for instance, is a clear case of adaptation. It has uniquely evolved among tadpoles living around the check dams. Climate change will only aggravate this effect on tadpoles and other amphibians." Experts said that "alteration" in natural river streams for making check dams and hydroelectric power plants "posed a threat to the physiology of amphibians". They added that it may affect the population of amphibians in the long term as they were getting "highly exposed to predators and very hot water". JA Johnson, a senior scientist at Wildlife Institute of India and co-author of the study, said, "Himalayan waters are facing serious threats from human-induced few alterations. This study highlights the importance of developing suitable conservation plans, which consider the needs of aquatic organisms as well as humans." These crucial findings were identified by experts at check dams in Ringali Gad, flowing through the Mussoorie wildlife sanctuary.
These dams are one of the "prime" sources of water for the locals of Mussoorie.

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