How to Catch Frogs for Scientific Research? #Video

I spent the last month in Borneo with the EDGE of Existence Program by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). It was indeed one of the best experiences in my life. Just that #BorneoFeeling. Being in Borneo, on that remote, unique island of life has taught me so much about life. It has changed me positively in so many different ways that I cannot (correctly) put everything in words. I have found myself smiling randomly.

I created a video with NatGeo’s #sciencetelling Bootcamp. I hope you enjoy it. I purposely refrained from catching live frogs. However, when I start my project, I assure you that I will make another one that would probably give you an idea of my work with amphibians in the Western Ghats of India.

Till then, I hope you enjoy this video! More on Borneo soon.

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Pictorial Guide to Frogs of Manipal

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Frogs have always fascinated me. Moving to Manipal in the year 2012 exposed me to a new environment and a new life. I explored the forests around the town. I learned a lot about the biodiverse life in these forests from the locals, the growing community of bird watchers and other naturalists. Having explored various multitude of fauna, I introspected where I could have maximum impact in terms of scientific research. As I delved deeper, I realized that there was no debate – it had to be frogs!

In an effort to explain my interest in these species – I immediately penned a blog post on “Why I love frogs and Why you should too” – http://girlgonebirdzz.com/frogs/why-i-love-frogs-and-why-you-should-too/

Early in July 2017, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) awarded me a grant with funds to carry out my research on the frogs of Manipal. Following this, I enrolled for a PhD with Manipal University to study these amphibians in greater depth under the able mentorship of Dr. Aravind N.A.

In order to spread awareness of these tiny croakers, with people from all disciplines and wakes of life – I have published my notes in a pictorial guide that even the youngest reader would be easily able to understand and use. It lists the 19 most commonly occurring species of frogs found in our beloved university town. What do I hope to achieve with this guide? Everyone who reads it should be encouraged to take part in the Citizen Science initiatives that we at Frogs of Manipal keep conducting regularly. And use it in the pursuit of their scientific endeavours 🙂

A huge thanks (and lots of hugs) to everyone who’s been a part of my scientific journey – each contribution, however little, has helped shape this guide into what it is.

Download a copy here – Frogs of Manipal.downloadable.pdf guide

I’d love to hear back from you folks so that we can make this guide even more awesome! Thanks and love <3

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#FridayFrogFact – One night with the Small-handed Frog (Indirana semipalmata)

Note: This blog post is dedicated to my dear friend Tushar Verma. Tushar, who’s a writer and a nature lover, had come down to Manipal all the way from Raipur to enjoy the beauty of the sea, the frogs and the forests. Vrinda, a core team member of FoM and I took him on a long frog-walk which was a part of my campaign #NotJustFrogs with the Jane Goodall Institute. We trekked up the mountains, cutting through tall trees and reeds on a warm summer evening. And while the seasonal warmth left us sweaty and lost in the middle of nowhere, we were delighted to find ourselves immersed in the wild setting of the scenic lush green mountains of the Western Ghats. The nightjars gave background music and five monsoon monsters allowed us to get close and watch them. With Tushar in town, I felt as if the summers had cooled down a little!

Indirana semipalmata

The Indirana group of frogs is by far one of my favourite frog groups. I am not sure why I have this unfair bias towards the Indiranas but I find them pretty psychedelic (read the last paragraph) in nature. Part of my interest in the Indiranas also lies in their evolutionary history, their overall structure, the habitat that they live in and their exceptional tadpoles (stay tuned- I’m going to write an elaborate post about Indirana tadpoles in the coming weeks). All Indirana frogs are endemic to the Western Ghats. When I come across any of these, my days instantly become super memorable! One day during my surveys in the benevolent mountains, I felt extremely fortunate to have gotten a chance to interact with the Gundia Leaping Frog (Indirana gundia) in the wild, thanks to my mentor – Dr Gururaja KV. On another frog walk, I stumbled upon three individuals of these frogs while exploring the forests of Agumbe.

On 21st March 2017, a warm sunny day greeted the three of us as we explored the depths of a forested patch in Manipal. The greenery around me filled me with joy and soon my eyes caught a glimpse of a freshwater lake that had taken the colour green to match the surroundings. As the birds chirped and flew back to their homes, the setting sun painted the sky in shades of pink and orange. Soon darkness took over. Vrinda and I passionately looked for frogs near the reeds and scanned the fringes of the road in our dim torch lights. It looked like we were crawling on the ground in search of marbles or pebbles like kids used to before the tech era got them searching for virtual marbles. Tushar simply walked along with a wide smile and looked at the two of us as if we were indulging in childlike activities under the dark blanket of the night sky embedded with sparkling stars. Little did he know how important our daily frog walks are to research these dying frog species!

After some time, all three of us got into a single line to have a look at one of the darkest corners in the forest. Our torches pointed towards the ground as we trekked in search of frogs. Suddenly my torch beam fell on a chunky frog that was sitting in a tiny burrow surrounded by dry leaf litter of the acacia trees. At first, I couldn’t identify the frog so I decided to catch it to examine it closely. But as soon as that thought crossed my mind, the frog sensed our presence and jumped to take cover under some small plants. I jumped straight at the frog and caught hold of it in one go. Over months of running behind these hoppers, I have now mastered a unique skill set. I can hop like a frog to catch my prey and walk like a human to show my intelligence. At this point, Tushar was probably traumatised by my behaviour. He was trying to figure out what exactly happened in the darkness, a few meters ahead of him. I placed the frog in a setting with appropriate lighting and photographed it quickly taking utmost care to not injure it. As soon as I had the pictures I needed, I studied the morphology of the frog and gently placed it back from where I had found it first.

That night, Tushar and I returned home to process the photo and admire the elegance of the Small-handed Frog that we were lucky enough to find! This frog belongs to the family of Ranixalidae, otherwise referred to as the ‘Indian Frogs’. Ranixalidae is an ancient family of frogs that evolved independently in India over millions of years. The family is now known to have two genera – Indirana and Sallywalkerana. The Small-handed Frogs are distributed across the Western Ghats. The overall size of the frog can range from 2.3 to 5.5 centimetres. The one we saw (photographed above) was a male frog of 4 centimetres in size. The presence of a pair of special glands, called the femoral glands, on the insides of the frog’s thigh tells me the gender. Femoral refers to the femur (thigh bone) or the thigh and that’s how they got their name. This gland is considered as a secondary sexual characteristic and is present only in the male frogs. The gland is also known to release pheromones to facilitate mating. Although the function, presence and absence of this gland needs further clarification in the case of Indirana frogs, in the Small-handed Frog, the gland is said to be present in all males but its function remains largely unknown.

It is easy to identify this frog. It is the commonest frog to be found among the Indiranas. The frog dwells on the ground, on wet rocks or leaf litter. It has a very typical rotund structure. The overall coloration can vary but is largely pinkish brown. The frog’s back has longitudinal irregular skin folds. Tiny spine-like structures can be noticed on the sides of the frog. The lower jaw has a leopard-like spotted pattern of alternate dark and light brown markings. And the eyes are very like any other frog (staring right at you) – large and round. Tympanum or the circular ear drum is placed, one on either side, right behind the eye and is almost the size of the frog’s eye. A pair of large, well-developed hind limbs has greenish brown and light brown alternate bands. Forelimbs look unusually small when compared to the body size; maybe that’s why it was christened the Small-handed Frog?!?!

Indirana semipalmata

In conclusion, I have a small experiment for you to try which Tushar and I have tried and tested when we were high (on life) that night. Download the above picture of this incredible frog onto your computer or mobile phone. Then open the file in any photo viewer that you are using; put the picture in the full-screen mode. Now look into the eyes of the frog and you will return to innocence and find love, devotion and feelings! Otherwise, the obvious ‘no-connection’ that human beings exhibit towards frogs will become apparent. Make sure you let me know how you felt when you looked into the frog’s eyes! 

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

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#FridayFrogFact – Malabar Wart Frog (Fejervarya rufescens)

fej rufscens 2I encountered the Malabar Wart Frog (Fejervarya rufescens) during my surveys on the edges of Pushpagiri Wildlife Reserve. I was sitting on the edge of a beautiful freshwater stream admiring the lush green vegetation around me. Shoals of Bi-coloured frogs’ tadpoles swam and fed on algae in the stream. It was a beautiful sight! Suddenly, a tiny frog that came hopping from behind me caught my eye. It took one last jump and found a comfortable place at the base of a river weed in the shallow waters of the stream. I tilted my head forwards to make eye contact with my new frog friend. Its eyes resembled that of a fish and its overall appearance was that of a toad. I sat quietly without any movement for the next fifteen minutes taking down important notes on its habitat and the surrounding temperature and humidity. While I continued to look at it, it sat there patiently without any movement as though it were imitating me! After about twenty minutes of being frozen, I was reminded that I am in an active elephant territory and must return to my base before it gets dark. I decided to take a couple of pictures and started trekking back thinking about this bizarre frog that I had just encountered. fej rufescens

After getting home, I scanned through all the available scientific literature that I could get my hands on. Forty-eight hours later, I had made my list of interesting facts about this lesser known creature –

  • Fejervaryan frogs belong to the family called Dicroglossidae. Dicroglossid frogs are sometimes called as ‘true frogs’ given its appearance and range of distribution. They are all mostly small, brown coloured, ground dwelling creatures. They live under leaf litter on the forest floors, in paddy fields or on the edges of freshwater streams.
  • Here’s a list of all Fejervaryan frogs in India in the table below. The Western Ghats alone are home to sixteen species of these ground-dwelling frogs. The ones marked with an asterisk (*) are from the Western Ghats.
Scientific Name Common Name Distribution IUCN Status
Fejervarya andamanensis Andaman Wart Frog South Andaman Island, India. (Andaman Islands) Least Concern
Fejervarya brevipalmata* Pegu Wart Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Data Deficient
Fejervarya cancrivora Crab-eating Frog Coastal southern China in Guangxi and Hainan Provinces, Great Nicobar Island in India, most countries in Southeast Asia. Introduced In New Guinea. Least Concern
Fejervarya caperata* Wrinkled Cricket Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India (Widespread) Not Evaluated
Fejervarya chilapata Jaldapara District in West Bengal State, India. (Chilapata Reserve Forest) Not Evaluated
Fejervarya gomantaki* Goan Fejervarya Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India particularly Goa in The Northern Western Ghats Not Evaluated
Fejervarya granosa*  Granular Fejervarya Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Not Evaluated
Fejervarya greenii Montane Frog Central hills of Sri Lanka and Karnataka, India. Endangered
Fejervarya keralensis* Kerela Warty Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India (known from the states of Karnataka, Kerela and Tamil Nadu) Least Concern
Fejervarya kudremukhensis* Kudremukh Cricket Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India (known from Karnataka) Not Evaluated
Fejervarya modestus* Moluccas Wart Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Not Evaluated
Fejervarya mudduraja* Mudduraja Cricket Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Not Evaluated
Fejervarya murthii* Murthy’s Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Critically Endangered
Fejervarya mysorensis* Mysore Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Data Deficient
Fejervarya nilagirica* Nilgiris Wart Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India. (Wayanad in Kerala and the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu) Endangered
Fejervarya nepalensis Nepal Wart Frog Nagaland (where it is widely distributed) and West Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Also present in Nepal and southern and southeastern Bangladesh. Least Concern
Fejervarya nicobariensis Nicobar Frog Nicobar Islands, India Endangered
Fejervarya orissaensis Orissa Frog Orissa, India. Least Concern
Fejervarya parambikulamana* Parambikulum Wart Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India (Palakkad, Kerala) Data Deficient
Fejervarya pierrei Pierre’s Cricket Frog Nepal, and southern and southeastern Bangladesh Least Concern
Fejervarya rufescens* Malabar Wart Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India (Whole of Malabar Coast) Least Concern
Fejervarya sahyadris* Minevarya Frog Endemic to Western Ghats. Restricted to Gundia in Karnataka, and Calicut and adjoining areas in Kerala, India Endangered
Fejervarya sauriceps* Mysore Wart Frog Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India Data Deficient
Fejervarya sengupti Northeastern, India Not Evaluated
Fejervarya teraiensis Terai Wart Frog Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, India. Also known from southern Nepal and Bangladesh Least Concern
Fejervarya syhadrensis* Southern Cricket Frog Central northern India and western peninsular India, southern Nepal, eastern Pakistan (from lower Punjab, Sindh) and Bangladesh. Least Concern
  • How to identify Fejervaryan frogs? Look for the following characteristics:
    – Small size (3 – 5 centimeters)
    – Colour that is usually drab brownish and dull overall
    – Habitat: Usually found on the forest floors, on leaf litters and paddy fields.
    – They are active all year round.
    – All these frogs will have ‘Fejervaryan Lines’ (Two delicate longitudinal lines on the underside of the sides of the abdomen. The line begins at the groin.)
    – The tympanum (disk-like structure behind the eye) is small.
    – Toes do not have any pads or dilated discs.
  • The Malabar Wart Frog (Fejervarya rufescens) was first described in 1853 by Jerdon. Since then it has gone through major taxonomic changes, from being called Zakerana to being called Fejervarya in 2015.
  • This frog is a robust, reddish brown of about 4.5 centimetres. The snout is blunt and the dorsum of the frog has irregular warty skin folds that give it a toad-like appearance.
  • In the non-breeding season, it is overall brownish with irregular black markings. Whereas in the breeding season the frog dons a sun-kissed reddish hue overall.
  • It also has an inner and outer digging apparatus (a shovel like structure that enables them to dig in the ground) on its hind limbs.

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3 

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#FridayFrogFact – The largest tadpoles in India!


I sat looking at the misty mountains of the Western Ghats, appreciating the landscape of Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. A slow moving stream beside me changed its colour as the sun rose from behind the mountains shining its dim orange light. I glanced at the beautiful vegetation around the stream. The leaves are laden with silvery dew drops. The stream is home to numerous tadpoles and fish signifying the freshness of the flowing water. I was taken back to my childhood memories of catching tadpoles in my cupped hands. Since the largest tadpoles in India are those of the Bicoloured frog – we will be talking about them in this #FridayFrogFact!

The Bicoloured frog (Clinotarsus curtipes) is a medium sized (7.4 cms) frog living on the leaf litter of forest floors and is endemic to the Western Ghats. In the non-breeding season the frog dons a dual-coloured attire of olive-gray back and black sides. Whereas in the breeding season that is from June to October, it turns golden reddish yellow with a patch of red on its shoulders. According to IUCN the frog is categorised as a ‘Near Threatened’ species but this requires an update because it is distributed across many more states than the ones we already know about.

Picture by Arun Achappa
Picture by Arun Achappa

Tadpoles of the Bicoloured frog are large, black, wriggly creatures with tails. They are found at the base of freshwater streams and ponds, all year round. These tadpoles are a common sight if you have wandered around the Western Ghats. As a child, these tadpoles were probably the first creatures that I got home and stored in plastic bottles. Eventually all of them died. I had no intentions to kill them but I was too immature to understand how their life functions. None of my family members knew about my affair with them so they too could not guide me on how to keep my lil’ tadpoles alive. Recently, when I came across these tadpoles during my expeditions I spent some time observing them very closely. I knew that there is more to these tiny creatures than what I observed so I decided to dig deeper. Five hours later, I was done compiling this list of the top interesting facts about them-

  1. The Bicolored frog tadpoles are the largest known tadpoles in India – now isn’t that something! They can grow up to 7-10 centimetres whereas an adult frog is only about 7 centimetres.
  2. The mouth of this tadpole is large and has horny teeth. There can up to 15 rows of teeth split between the upper and lower half of the mouth.
  3. The tadpoles usually live in small tanks or slow moving streams. They swim from their birthplace to other micro habitats and keep wandering till they metamorphose into frogs.
  4. Studies say that predator fish might not feed on these tadpoles. The tadpoles secrete toxins which makes them unpalatable.
  5. These tadpoles possess a pair of paratoid glands behind the eyes. Paratoid glands are warts containing high concentrations of toxins.
  6. A supra-caudal gland is present above the tail.
  7. It has been reported that these glands secrete a white (toxic) fluid when handled which is why predators might not feed on them!

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3 

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#FridayFrogFact – Indirana Gundia (Gundia Leaping Frog)

The Indiarana frogs have been going through major taxonomic changes in the recent years. The word Indirana probably derived by combining two words – India (Indi) and frogs (rana). This tells us that these frogs are known only from India, particularly the Western Ghats! They are commonly referred to as ‘Leaping Frogs’ given their behaviour and ability to jump long and fast on leaf litter. This genus includes the following species: Capture_indirana

I was lucky to see the Gundia Leaping Frog while I was working in Gundia district on a wet monsoon day. While strolling through the study site my mentor heard a call which everyone else failed to notice. After hours of inspection, we finally found a tiny, brownish creature calling for its mate from under moss laden rocks. I was amazed when I witnessed the spectacular camouflage of this frog!

gundia

I personally find them a very difficult group of frogs and that’s probably because I haven’t observed them enough. For me, these frogs are analogous to warblers in the bird world. The key to identification of these cryptic species would be (I guess) to first place them in their respective groups (more about this next week). Then check the location of the frog and cancel out species one by one according to their external characteristics.

The following points will be useful to understand the morphological characteristics of Gundia Leaping Frog and will also help separate this frog from others in its family:

  • Size – Approximately 2-3 centimetres.
  • The eyes are bi-colored. The upper half is golden yellow while the lower half is silverish
  • Horizontally placed oval pupils separate the two colours of the eyes
  • A pair of large and distinctive tympanums, Maroon in colour
  • Extensive webbing in the feet
  • Snout that looks elongated and protrudes beyond its mouth
  • Back/Dorsum – Shows longitudinal skin-folds that make irregular rows
  • The sides aka flanks are granular in appearance
  • Presence of femoral gland on the posterior thigh
  • Coloration – Mostly brownish and yellowish overall. The frog can sometimes appear little reddish and also have a central white longitudinal line on the dorsum

The Gundia Leaping Frog was discovered in 1986. Since then very little is known about the ecology and life history of this frog. It belongs to a family of frogs that is said to be evolving independently in India for more than 50 million years. It is recognised as an Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. EDGE species are remarkably unique not only in their appearance, the way they behave or live but also in their evolutionary history. The Gundia Leaping Frog is just one step away from going ‘Extinct In The Wild’ according to IUCN. If we lose these frogs, there will none of their kind left on the planet!

Read more here –
http://www.edgeofexistence.org/amphibians/species_info.php?id=632
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0166326
http://threatenedtaxa.org/index.php/JoTT/article/view/2532/3766
http://www.sekj.org/PDF/anz49-free/anz49-257i.pdf

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3 

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How To Show Your Love Towards Frogs On This Valentine’s Day

giphy

In this season of love, let’s come together to show our affection towards these lesser known species on earth – frogs! Well, the topic might not seem too interesting at the first place but do read – Why I Love Frogs and Why You Should Too, which will convince you to love them! If that’s not enough, sit back because an Ebook on the same topic will be coming your way very soon. 

In today’s post, I have made a list of DIYs for you. The following list will help you take your first steps towards helping frogs. If you have already been doing one or two of these, make sure to continue your awesome work. Do join the #NotJustFrogs campaign here – https://www.rootsandshoots.org/project/notjustfrogs-part-l 

Here’s an exhaustive list of things to do on this Valentine’s day to show your love towards frogs. Trust me, when I say these tinies will give you more happiness than anything else. Also, it is quite interesting that most of the items listed here can be done right from your PC or your smartphone. Don’t forget to score yourself with one point for each item. Let’s see who scores the maximum?! 

giphy frog smile

 

  1. Be compassionate towards frogs. Let them live. Compassion is the first step towards conservation and sustainable living.
  2. Educate yourself and learn about frogs found in your region. 
  3. Start observing frogs, they aren’t as slimy as you think they are! If you happen to look into their eyes you’d probably fall in love.  
  4. Download the FrogFind app to learn about common frogs and toads in the Western Ghats of India
  5. Post your frog pictures on FrogWatch (India) and for other regions here and here
  6. Stop eating ‘frog legs’ and tell your friends as well! Why you may ask? Because frogs are being pushed into extinction sooner than you might know of. Read more – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/aug/07/frogs-legs-extinction
  7. Post pictures of frogs from your neighbourhood on social media. This will help spread love towards these species. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #NotJustFrogs
  8. Draw a frog and share your drawings with the world.
  9. Write a haiku or a short poem on frogs.
  10. Reserve a tiny pond for frogs in your yard. Keep a close eye on them 😉giphy thumbs up
  11. Do not stock up non-native fish species in your ponds or rivers. If you see such an activity take a step and spread the word to stop this! (be sure to read the next #FridayFrogFact to know why!)
  12. Buy a frog tee shirt and roam in style – https://shop.savethefrogs.com/index.html
  13. Start raising funds for frogs – if you are an organisation or a media body, get in touch with NGOs or campaigners to conduct an awareness drive in your town. An off-beat topic like frogs can actually pull masses quite effectively.
  14. Help build ‘Batrachariums
  15. Volunteer in your free time to save frogs. Whatever is your skill set, we can use it to spread frog love.
  16. Donate money to NGOs and organisations that are working to save the frogs.
  17. Invite me to speak on – ‘Why I Love Frogs and Why You Should Too’
  18. Participate in citizen science projects like Frog Watch.
  19. Prevent roadkills by driving slow on moist monsoon nights.
  20. Help in documenting frog road kills. If you encounter a dead frog on the road, make sure you report it here or post it on our facebook group.
  21. Keep an eye on this space and participate in our upcoming events.
  22. If you find an abnormal frog, like an individual without an eye or a limb, an infection or dead with unknown cause report it via Facebook groups or get in touch here.
  23. Become a volunteer for the #NotJustFrogs campaign. Please contact – madhushri06@gmail.com
  24. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle – Reduce use of chemicals/pesticides, reuse plastic and metal, recycle whatever you can!
  25. Buy organic, go local and become vegan (if possible)
  26. Reduce wastage of resources – water, electricity, fuel, etc. (Check out utilitysavingexpert.com  which helps you do just that. )
  27. Follow – #FridayFrogFacts and share them with your friends.

giphy woohoo frog

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3 

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#FridayFrogFact – Are There Any Poisonous Frogs In India?

The Poison Dart Frogs are the deadliest frogs in the world. When the poison from a Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is rubbed on an arrow head and shot at a monkey high up in the canopy – the monkey falls straight down. Natives living in Colombian rainforest used this technique to hunt. Forget monkeys, just one milligramme of poison from this frog is capable of killing 10 human beings. 

giphy_poison frog

Fortunately (or unfortunately) these incredible frogs aren’t found in India. In fact, there are no poisonous frogs in India. While most toads have poison glands behind their eyes, the poison from these glands isn’t capable of doing any major harm to human beings. Most people are worried that if they touch frogs something dangerous might happen to them. Yes, that might be true for people living in other countries but not here in India. We Indians don’t have to fear – our country is free from deadly frogs!

How bright the colours are on a frog’s skin, is an indicator of just how poisonous the frog is! Most poisonous frogs produce poison as a defence mechanism to fight predators. This poison, unlike venon is not used to kill its prey. Indian frogs although have different defence mechanisms. For example, the brightly coloured Fungoid frog (Hydrophylax malabaricus) is known to produce an unpleasant odour when touched. Most toads will either urinate or secrete poison on being touched or picked up. Based on my personal observations, I have noticed that when some people with very sensitive skin come in contact with toads, they feel a burning or itching sensation. Another interesting frog whose looks can be confusing owing to its bright coloration is the Malabar Torrent Toad (Ghatophryne ornata). Rightly named, it is found on the rocks adjoining fast flowing streams in the Malabar region. The frog has bright colours on the insides – over its belly and groins. Intelligently, when the frog senses danger it flips in the flowing stream acting dead and showing off all the bright colours to the predator. 

giphy poisonous frog

 

So the next time someone points out and talks about poisonous frogs from India, you’d know the answer – there aren’t any!

PS: I am not encouraging any of you guys to pick-up or touch frogs unnecessarily!

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

 

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#FridayFrogFact – Laterite Narrow-mouthed Frog (Microhyla laterite): Frog of Manipal?

Manipal is situated on a stunning laterite plateau with the Western Ghats to one side and the Arabian Sea to the other. Monsoons give rise to ephemeral pools that act as breeding sites for frogs. A number of frogs, birds and other creatures rejoice and make these pools their home.

giphy_microhyla
One remarkable discovery was that of a Narrow-mouthed Frog from the pools formed on the laterite plateau of Manipal. Here are my notes that will help you understand and learn everything about this newly discovered species:

  1. There are 8 species of Narrow-mouthed Frogs (genus Microhyla) in India
    microhyla final
  2. Out of these, the 3 marked in yellow have been reported from South India
  3. Laterite Narrow-mouthed Frog (Microhyla laterite) abbreviated here as LNF is the 9th one on the list. This frog was described in March 2016 by a team of scientistsScreen Shot 2017-01-25 at 7.08.04 PM
  4. The size of a male LNF is about 1.5 centimetres and that of a female is about 1.8 centimetres
  5. This new species shares habitat with Ornate Narrow-mouthed frog, Cricket frogs, Bull Frogs, Common Skittering Frogs and Tree frogs
  6. The calls of LNF are similar to that of a ground cricket – ‘Zeeee…Zeeee….Zeeee’
  7. Tadpoles of this tiny frog are small blackish creatures usually found at the base of the pools formed in monsoons. Mudigere Skittering Frog has been reported to feed on these miniature creatures
  8. To separate LNF from other confusing tiny frogs, look for the following characteristics:

    • Small sized adults with circular pupils (common to all Narrow-mouthed Frogs)
    • Smooth back that has irregular pattern (common to all Narrow-mouthed Frogs)
    • Tympanum, disc-like structures behind a frog’s eye are hidden (common to all Narrow-mouthed Frogs)
    • Size is approximately less than or equal to one-third of the length of your index finger (1.5 centimetres)
    • A short, dark horizontal line on the back in-line with its tiny forearms
    • Dark, blackish purple granulated pattern on the vocal sacs
    • Calls can be heard in monsoons around rainwater pools from 1800 to 2130 hours
  9. LNF can be confused with its sister species – Sholiga Narrow-mouthed Frog. More on this in the coming weeks on how you can differentiate between the same.

Have a look at these pictures by Vrinda Lath who is a core member of team FoM: 

IMAG0880_1-1

microhyla

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

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#FridayFrogFact – New Frog Species From India: Karaavali Skittering Frog (Euphlyctis karaavali)

Source : Giphy.com

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.

Source : Giphy.com

 

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: 

  1. There are 7 species of skittering frogs (genus Euphlyctis) in the world
  2. Out of these, the 5 marked yellow are reported from India
  3. The new frog species called Karaavali Skittering frog (Euphlyctis karaavali) abbreviated here as KSF is the 8th species on the list.
    karaavali
  4. 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
    giphy_confusing frog
  5. 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
    Size frog full
  6. 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 – 

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post. 

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

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