IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

‘Mahabali frog’

10th November, 2020 Environment

Context: ‘Mahabali frog’ may be Kerala’s official amphibian

  • Scientifically called Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, it is listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • The purple frog, also known as pignose frog is one of the rarest frog species endemic to the Western Ghats, would soon be declared as Kerala’s official amphibian.

  • The Indian purple frog emerges from its underground burrow on just one day of the year.
  • It is not only a rare frog species but is also one of the unique amphibians.
  • According to WWF, purple frog has been acknowledged by bio-geographers all over the world as one of the rarest kinds and a “once in a century find.”
  • It said 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.
  • Named as the “Mahabali frog” as it emerges from under the ground for only one day, like Kerala’s mythological King Mahabali who was banished to the underworld and given permission to meet his subjects in Kerala during Thiruvonam day of Malayalam month of Chingam.
  • By conserving the Mahabali frog the whole aquatic eco- system along with the biodiversity of Western Ghats can be conserved.