#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.

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
  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 scientists
  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: 

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

Continue Reading

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

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: 

  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.
  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
  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

  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

Continue Reading

#FridayFrogFact – What do frogs eat?

Last week I spent a couple of hours answering Quora questions on frogs and amphibians. While I answered questions like ‘Which is the biggest amphibian?’ or ‘Which are the most poisonous frogs?’, one question caught my attention a number of times – ‘What do frogs eat?’ 

Source: giphy.com

A lot of curious people on Quora are trying to answer the question as to what exactly do these small frogs (that often serve as food for others) eat. In my past workshops and talks, a number of people have asked me similar questions. So in this week’s Friday post, I will tell you’ll what are the various goodies they eat in the following points. But for the impatient among you all, a short answer to this FAQ could be – ‘Frogs eat pests- all kinds of pests’

Source: giphy.com
Source: giphy.com

A frog’s diet is mighty interesting. This article will be hugely helpful to understand what exactly is on a frog’s menu – 

  • Almost all frogs are largely carnivorous (i.e mainly insectivorous). They eat a variety of invertebrates and other small vertebrates.  
  • Although an exception to the above is a largely herbivorous frog known from India called the Indian Green Frog (Euphlyctus hexadactylus). 80% of this frog’s diet contains plant matter.
  • Burrowing frogs mainly feed on ants and termites. These globular bodied frogs burrow deep into the ground without any movement and with reduced physiological function- just as their names suggests! In order to maintain this kind of a lifestyle, they need a fat rich diet and ants and termites are a rich source of fat.
  • Some large frogs also feed on fish. An African frog (Aubria subsigillata) who leaps over water specializes on eating fish.
  • In the highlands of Kenya lives a special frog that feeds mainly on terrestrial snails and slugs. A book that I often read says that the frogs haven’t actually been observed eating snails but they possess extensive modifications of their skull bones and teeth that allow them to pull these sticky creatures from the rocks.
  • A frog that lives in the salty mudflats and can tolerate marine environments in the Southeast Asia eats crabs, Crab-eating frog (Fejervarya cancrivora).
  • Tadpoles on the other hand feed mainly on a vegetarian diet. They depend on algae that grow on the rocks and within the water streams.
  • The frog’s head and body size are directly proportional to the prey size. In other words, frogs that are large and have bigger heads will eat a variety of prey from tiny ants to large invertebrates and vice versa.  

Watch the following video to see a bull frog eat almost anything in front of it –

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

Continue Reading

#FridayFrogFact – Reflecting Back on 2016 with Frogs in Focus

Heartfelt thanks to each and every participant of “Frogs of Manipal’ club. We are now a brilliant gang of 133 frog lovin’ members! This informal club was created in October 2016 and team Frogs of Manipal (FoM) has made some awesome discoveries since then. So on this first Friday of 2017, let’s recap everything that we have achieved together in the last three months as team FoM –

  1. We surveyed various sectors of Manipal twice every week, taking the total count of our surveys to more than 20 in three months

    From giphy.com
    From giphy.com
  2. We documented about 5 road kills from across Manipal in the dry season

    Picture by Rahul SN
    Picture by Rahul SN
  3. We encountered and recorded an eyeless ‘Endangered’ frog – Uperedon mormorata

    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
  4. We spent 21st Nov’16 cracking delightful frog jokes to have a good laugh together frogjokes
  5. We’ve participated in 3 polls – one each month; and we will continue with monthly polls to gauge the community’s opinions poll_
  6. We shared pictures of ‘Data Deficient’ frogs like the Western Tree Frog sitting on the walls of our hostels

    Picture by Rithika Kalidos
    Picture by Rithika Kalidos
  7. We encountered Nematode infection in an aquatic frog in October 2016

    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
  8. We saw an amazing video of a Bull Frog escaping death right in our university’s backyard by Girish Rajannavar

     

  9. We launched #FridayFrogFact where we read, write and share frog blogs every week. We promise to continue doing this! pixabay.com
  10. We also took #FridayFrogFact to an international platform with a post being published in The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR)

    giphy.com
    giphy.com
  11. Our team members from places away from Manipal showed their virtual support by sharing interesting scientific studies

    impinfofrog
    By Rishabh Birla
  12. With our outreach activities, we spoke about #NotJustFrogs to a total of 256 students- in Manipal and surrounding towns. The change in these kids’ perception of frogs – from ‘icky’ to ‘wow’ was heartwarming to say the least!

    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
  13. We laughed and came up with intelligent strategies to come out of the ditch into which one of our team mate’s car went straight down on 26th Oct’16 as we wrapped up our regular frog walk

    From giphy.com
    From giphy.com
  14. That same day, we also saw a beautiful Scops Owl along with frogs

    Picture by Ashutosh Taparia
    Picture by Ashutosh Taparia
  15. We have successfully maintained high ethical standards within our team – thanks to our moderators and each one of us!

In the future, we will achieve a lot more together. We promise to continue our surveys throughout the year. We will also be conducting fun activities like ‘Frog Movie Nights’. We will continue writing frog blogs. I think, we should take a step into making some fun videos in 2017 to endorse FoM.

I am waiting for your ideas, suggestions and opinions that you think will help us improve in the coming year. Our objective as always, remains:

  1. To spread awareness about the frogs of Manipal
  2. To document abnormalities in frogs
  3. To document road kills across the town
  4. Come up with interesting strategies for conservation
  5. To promote living in harmony with frogs
  6. To change attitudes towards frogs as a whole
  7. To bring more people into this loving community – once they come to love frogs as much as we do!

Let’s welcome the New Year with gratitude and love towards all species on our planet!

Thank you from Team FoM <3

 

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

Continue Reading

#FridayFrogFact – 5 Awesome Frog Documentaries You Need To Watch This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! Without any argument, it is the best season to find a comfortable couch, a warm blanket and some chocolate brownies. Watching Game of Thrones or Netflix is indeed a great idea while snuggling up, but I’d rather watch frog documentaries. Why? Because these have taken me on an awesome trip into the world beyond mine. The movies I have listed here are inspiring, intriguing and hair-raising all at the same time. I think, it is a brilliant idea to make use of the holiday season to learn something exciting while not compromising on the entertainment.  

Following are five of my favourite freely available films on frogs. Take my list and just watch the documentaries below, and soak up in the world that you have never imagined –

  1. Fabulous Frogs –

What’s it about? This is by far, my favourite frog documentary. Not only is it in Sir David Attenborough’s voice but it also tells you about every basic fact that you must know about these incredible lil’ creatures. The movie is a journey into a weird and cryptic world of frogs. It talks about their life histories, their extraordinary anatomies and their unbelievable breeding behaviours. The film shows colourful frogs from the rainforests that live high up in the canopy and glide down to the ground. It also features frozen frogs showcasing their extraordinary hibernation skills. Here’s a preview –

  1.    Frogs – The Thin Green Line

What’s it about? The deadly chytrid fungus that is spreading all over the world. Allison Argo, who is known for lending her voice to animals that cannot speak for themselves, has narrated and directed this movie. In her strong yet soothing voice, she stresses on the major concerns in the amphibian world. This video will take you on a roller-coaster ride and will get you thinking from the depths of your grey matter!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYZgoeBQH4A

  1. Knights of the Monsoon – Frogs of Sharavathi Valley

What’s it about? The Frogs of Sharavathi Valley and the Western Ghats of India created by my dear friends Saurabh and Ramit. The documentary shows life in monsoons in the deep forests of India. It focuses on some endangered and endemic species of frogs. The creators broadcast a colourful and psychedelic journey into the lives of lesser known frog species while stressing on their importance in the ecosystem.

  1.  Deadly Poison Dart Frog?  

What’s it about? Coyote Peterson’s adventures have always fascinated me. This is one of my favourite episodes wherein he handles a poison dart frog. (Some poison frogs have skin toxins potentially dangerous to humans, and I do not encourage anyone to do stunts that Coyote does.) In this video, he handles the Granulated Poison Frog.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyBZqRgbds4

  1.  The Survival of the Earth Depends on Frogs: Jean-Marc Hero at TEDx at St Hilda’s School

What’s it about? Professor Jean-Marc Hero talks about the connections between human beings, frogs and the planet Earth. TED talks have always inspired me. And this talk is about something I truly believe in. Professor Jean-Marc’s presentation is inspiring and thought-provoking not only to students and professionals studying frogs but also to people from various other backgrounds. If any of the documentaries above have gotten you a tad bit interested in frogs, you must add this TED talk to your playlist and take a leap further in the world of frogs!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugvnxpYnsPQ&index=19&list=LL-v-SfuogeQoVzqxyXTo7sg

Happy Holiday and a very Happy New Year everyone! I hope you enjoyed that article. Stay tuned for more such amazing frog facts – we post every Friday!

This post was first published on Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) read it 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

Continue Reading