A team of scientists have recently unearthed a large aquatic frog from the Western Ghats of India. This frog calls like a bird and probably this is the reason why it has been ignored all these years. In the year 2015, an incredibly large frog that resembled other frogs from the region (but was not one of them) was reported by a local forester who was conducting his regular surveys on the coasts of Karnataka. The sound he heard was one no one had noticed before! He had heard, what he thought was a White-throated Kingfisher, call from the puddles below his feet. But that’s not possible! The puddles were instead home to a new frog, awaiting recognition. A passionate team of scientists then exposed this frog to the world in their paper published in the scientific journal of Asian Herpetological Research in September 2016.
The frog looks very similar to other aquatic frogs. It is known to share its habitat with commonly occurring frogs like the Indian Bull Frog, Common Indian Toad, Common Skittering Frog, Six-toad Frog, Aloysius Skittering Frog and many others.
Here are my notes that will help you learn about and understand this new species:
- There are 7 species of skittering frogs (genus Euphlyctis) in the world
- Out of these, the 5 marked yellow are reported from India
- The new frog species called Karaavali skittering frog (Euphlyctis karaavali) abbreviated here as KSF is the 8th species on the list.
- Among the skittering frogs, this new species is known to share habitat with Aloysi Skittering, Common Skittering, Mudigere Skittering and Six-toed Skittering frogs. Differentiating between these can be highly confusing when they are seen together
- The size of a male KSF is about 70.9 millimetres while that of a female is about 106 millimetres. For better understanding, I have compiled approximate size chart in centimetres
- Although to separate Karaavali from the above species, look at the following characteristics:
- Full webbed toes (common to all skittering frogs)
- Eye on top on the head (common to all skittering frogs)
- Large tympanum (common to all skittering frogs)
- Size; your four fingers together will make a Karaavali (Consider each finger’s width 2 cms)
- Prominent supratympanic fold (skin wrinkle) extending from the ear to the shoulder
- Shagreen colour on the back
- Presence of granular tubercles on the back of the frog
- Granular short spine-like tubercles from the eye all the way to the groin
- Dark, blackish purple pair of vocal sacs
- A dark green stripe on the flanks, extending from the supratympanic fold (starts right behind the tympanum/ear) and ends at the groin
Have a look at the video by CR Naik and Dr Gururaja KV here –
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