IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


28th February, 2023 Environment

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Context: The critically endangered Malabar tree toad — found in Mollem National Park which itself is threatened by three infrastructure projects — finds mention in the updated ‘Checklist of Indian Amphibians (2023)’ released by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).


  • Mollem is among the top 8 global biodiversity hotspots.
  • The national park is the site of three proposed projects: the installation of power lines by Goa Tamnar Transmission, 4/6-laning of the highway, and doubling of the rail line.

About the toad:

  • The Malabar tree toad (Pedostibes tuberculosus), or warty Asian tree toad, is a species of toad found in forests along the Western Ghats of great Karnataka or Deccan.
  • It is a small species and is found in wet tree hollows or leaf bases containing water.
  • It is the only species in the monotypic genus Pedostibes, also known as Asian tree toads.


Formerly, the genus Pedostibes also hosted other Southeast Asian species that were subsequently moved to a new genus, Rentapia, in 2016


  • This is a slender frog with a moderate-sized head.
  • Females are larger than males.


  • This species is known to live in tree habitats, but adults are found among leaf litter, climbing into trees at night.
  • They are found in the forest of the Western Ghats at elevations of 250 m to over 1000 m, often beside streams.
  • Malabar tree toad is also found in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mollem National Park:

  • Spread over 240 sq km in the Western Ghats, Mollem National Park is located in Sanguem taluk in Goa close to the border with Karnataka.
  • The reserve also has several temples dating back to the Kadamba Dynasty. 
  • The park was earlier known as Mollem game sanctuary. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary.
  • The core area of the sanctuary spread over 107 sq km was named Mollem National Park in 1978.
  • Since then the national park is called Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. 
  • Several species of snakes including the King Cobra, Hump-nosed pit viper, Indian rock python and Malabar pit viper are found in the park.
  • The national park showcases a wide variety of birds like fairy bluebird, wagtails, three-toed kingfisher, drongo, golden oriole, great Indian hornbill.
  • Butterflies of many species like Blue Mormon, Crimson Rose, Tailed Jay, Malabar Tree Nymph, Tamil Yoeman, Plain Tiger and Lime Butterfly are found in the region.

The Zoological Survey of India:

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is the premier taxonomic research organization in India.
  • It was established on 1 July 1916 to promote surveys, exploration and research leading to advancement of our knowledge of various aspects of the exceptionally rich animal life of India.
  • The ZSI had its genesis as the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875.
  • Since its inception, the ZSI has been documenting the diversity and distribution of the fauna of India towards carrying out its mandate of conducting exploration-cum-taxonomic-research programmes.


Q) Which of the following statements is/are correct with reference to the Malabar tree toad?

a.    It is critically endangered according to IUCN Red List.

b.    Females are larger than males.

  1. Only a
  2. Only b
  3. Both a and b
  4. Neither a nor b

Answer: Option III