Monday, July 21, 2008

Malabar Gliding Frog
The Malabar Gliding frog is found in the entire peninsular India, in the Western Ghats and is endemic to this region. Records indicate its presence in south west Maharashtra, Goa Karnataka till southern Kerala and Tamil Nadu . Good sightings occur in forests of Amboli, Mollem and Mahdei regions.
The call of this species is very distinct and may be described as a loud series of tak-tak-tak and is amongst the first calls heard in the forests during the first onset of the monsoons.
Adult Malabar gliding frogs rest on leaves and under them in the day and are active at night.
There are reports that this species hibernates in the high tree canopy after the monsoons end as they are seen at eye level only during the monsoons when they are induced to mate in the tree canopy. The males create foam nests with the help of females who spawn in the nest and build the foam nest by holding leaves together on the tree. The leaves stay glued together due to the foam nest and are built over temporary or permanent water bodies in which the tadpoles later fall after 4-5 days and emerging tadpoles are bottom feeders for sometime. The foam nest contains approx 160-200 eggs.
The mating takes place for a period of approx 15 to 20 minutes and many males mount on a single female in a position called multiple amplexus. These frogs inhabit evergreen and semi evergreen forests that are now been destroyed in the name of development. This species is known as the flagship species amongst amphibian species of the Western Ghats by conservationists and amphibian specialists.
I have been observing Malabar gliding frogs for the last 5 years in the Mahdei region, documenting their habitats and mapping the same. Indications show that these species are losing their local habitats due to monoculture plantations and mass alterations in habitats due to burning and shifting cultivation, large scale forest clearing and development projects.

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