Kerala

Malabar gliding frog spotted at Pullad

The Malabar gliding frog which was spotted at the orchard of a house at Pullad, near Kozhencherry.

The Malabar gliding frog which was spotted at the orchard of a house at Pullad, near Kozhencherry.  

The amphibian is endemic to rain forests of Western Ghats

A green frog with slender body, webbed feet, unusual body positions, very well camouflaged and gliding in the air. This was how a juvenile Malabar gliding frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus), a rare amphibian that can glide in the air up to 10 to 12 metres, was spotted in the orchard of a house at Pullad, near Kozhencherry, on Saturday.

Jithesh Krishnan, Assistant Professor of Botany at NSS College, Pandalam, who spotted the frog endemic to the rain forests of Western Ghats, in his orchard told The Hindu that it was the second time he could find this rare amphibian species in the same orchard in the past two years.

Dr. Krishnan said Western Ghats was a repository of biological diversity and the Malabar gliding frog undoubtedly an ecologically sensitive and beautiful species.

Its gliding abilities, with the long skin between the fingers, helped these frogs to cover 10 to 12 feet in one leap, said Dr. Krishnan.

The frog has got a body length of 10 cm, making it one of the largest mossy frogs. The fingers and toes are like sticks to attach and walk through tree branches. Males are smaller than females.

Foam nests

Dr. Krishnan said like many mossy frogs, they built foam nests above small pools of water, into which the tadpoles drop after hatching. As their body is so soft, they can live only in moist forests with streams.

The surroundings of the house at Pullad is like a small grove with an open water holding tank at centre, surrounded by trees.

The Malabar gliding frog population was declining due to deforestation, climate change, developmental activities, toxic chemicals and so on, he said.

Dr. Krishnan said the frog bred during the monsoon and usually, the females chose to spawn on the lush green leaves overhanging a waterbody.

Nature enthusiasts have also observed interesting behaviour like cannibalism among tadpoles.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 8:13:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/malabar-gliding-frog-spotted-at-pullad/article31827553.ece

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