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:
- There are 8 species of Narrow-mouthed Frogs (genus Microhyla) in India
- Out of these, the 3 marked in yellow have been reported from South India
- 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
- The size of a male LNF is about 1.5 centimetres and that of a female is about 1.8 centimetres
- This new species shares habitat with Ornate Narrow-mouthed frog, Cricket frogs, Bull Frogs, Common Skittering Frogs and Tree frogs
- The calls of LNF are similar to that of a ground cricket – ‘Zeeee…Zeeee….Zeeee’
- 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
- 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
- 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:
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