Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Purple Frog

Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
The Purple Frog is an incredibly fascinating amphibian-- not only are they one of the most recent frogs to be discovered by science, but they are also members of a family that has lasted for over 130 million years!

You'll find the Purple Frogs in a very small range in southern India. But amazingly, their closest relatives live over 1,500 miles away in the Seychelles. Once upon a time the common ancestor of the Purple Frog and their Seychelles cousins lived on a landmass that split away from Gondwana, the southern supercontinent. As the landmass continued to drift, pieces gradually (over millions of years) broke off, and the Seychelles and India became separated. That is why today the only members of the Sooglossidae family live so far apart!

Now, it's not wonder that it took until 2003 for the Purple Frog to be discovered. They are small, maxing out at around 7cm, and they live almost entirely underground. They sometimes dig tunnels as deep as 10ft below the surface! The Purple Frogs only emerge for a few weeks each year in order to mate. Unsurprisingly, they feed on termites and other subterranean insects.

Sadly, the Purple Frog is considered Endangered. They have a very small range that is threatened by agriculture and deforestation. There are protected areas nearby, but so far they have not been observed inside of them.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : India
Size : Body Length up to 2.5in (7cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Anura
Family : Sooglossidae -- Genus : Nasikabatrachus -- Species : N. sahyadrensis
Image : Dr. S.D. Biju

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