Purple Frog | WWF India

Purple Frog

Scientific Name: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis

The purple frog, also known as pignose frog, was first discovered in October 2003 in the Idukki district of Kerala by S.D. Biju from the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Palode, India and Franky Bossuyt from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels). It is endemic to the Western Ghats in India and was not noticed until recently as it remains underground most of the year except for 2-3 weeks during the monsoon when it comes out to mate. This species has been acknowledged by bio-geographers all over the world as one of the rarest kinds and a ‘once in a century find’.

The purple frog has a bloated body with short stout limbs and is dark purple to greyish in colour. Reaching to about 7 centimetres, it has a small head in comparison to the body length, and an unusually pointed snout. Its short and muscular forelimbs with hard palms help it to burrow underground. Unlike other frogs, it has very short hind legs, which does not allow it to leap from one spot to another. As a result, it covers any distance with long strides. It depends more on its sense of smell to hunt out soil termites underground.

This burrow-dwelling frog prefers loose, damp and well-aerated soil close to ponds and ditches or streams. This makes it convenient for adults to come out to mate during the monsoon and the females lay eggs in the water bodies. Only 135 individuals of this species are known, of which only 3 are females. The major threat to it is habitat loss due to human encroachment.

The purple frog benefits indirectly from WWF-India’s wider conservation work in the Western Ghats - Nilgiris Landscape.

1. Biju, S. D. and Bossuyt, F., Nature, 2003, 425, 711–714.
2. C. Radhakrishnan, K. C. Gopi and Muhamed Jafer Palot (2007) Extension of range of distribution of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis Biju & Bossuyt (Amphibia: Anura: Nasikabatrachidae) along Western Ghats, with some insights into its bionomics. Current Science, 92(2):213-216.
3. http://www.arkive.org/purple-frog/nasikabatrachus-sahyadrensis/#text=Description
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_frog
Purple Frog
A view of Idduki District, Kerala
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