#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.

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

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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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Wait?

Will you wait? Asked my heart. Waiting is great indeed
Wait for another dog to walk in your home.
When things fall into place on their own,
Till then, let me wait and moan.

Wait for that perfect opportunity
Wait for that perfect day.
When things fall into place just like you’d expected,
Till then, let me wait and pray!

Wait? What are you doing, said my brain
With the only life, you’ve got to make.
Things will never fall into place on their own,
You gotta get up and start to take that ache.

Life is difficult and unlucky, my girl
Success comes to those who never wait.
I know you will get there, but not just by pray,
Get up and find that opportunity to make your life great!

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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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Set Yourself Free…

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When you truly sing, you sing yourself free.
When you truly dance, you dance yourself free.
And when you travel to places and discover a river, you swim to set yourself free!

PS: Read these lines somewhere in a book and modified them a little

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Reverse Bob Marley Flower

Gloriosa superba otherwise called a flame lily or a fire lily is fatal to man and animals if consumed. The incredibly coloured flower reminded me of my favourite singer – Bob Marley when I first saw it in the wild. The whole flower is poisonous but the most poisonous part is the little bud below. If ingested the symptoms start with nausea and vomiting and eventually lead to death. The flower has been used by ancient tribes for suicides or murders. Woah!

It is found throughout the forests of India although the plant is a native of Africa. It is surprising to know that the plant has miraculous medicinal properties. It is used to induce labour, treat acne, kidney stones, STD, cancer, impotency, bruises, snake bites and much more. 

The plant when in full bloom is indeed a treat to the eyes. I saw it first when I was touring Dharwad and lived on an organic farm on Dharwad outskirts. Mr Sanjeev, the owner of the farm introduced me to this beautiful flower!

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