IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Rare Myristica Swamp Treefrog found in Vazhachal forest


Context: Myristica Swamp Treefrog, a rare arboreal species endemic to the Western Ghats that bears the scientific name Mercurana myristicapalustris, has been recorded for the first time north of the Shencottah gap in Vazhachal Reserve Forest in Thrissur.

  • Unlike the Myristica Swamp Treefrog found in the foothills of the Agasthyamalai, these frogs were found to be active throughout June and early July and has adapted to a non-Myristica swamp predominant with the plant Polyalthia fragrans.
  • The frog was first described in 2013 from the lowland Myristica swamps of Arippa, near Kulathupuzha Reserve Forest, in the western foothills of Agasthyamalai.
  • These frogs are rare and elusive for the reason that they are arboreal and active only for a few weeks during their breeding season.
  • During this season, there is a large aggregation of males that descend from the high canopy of the trees. The males vocalise in groups from the low perches in the swamps.

  • They exhibit unique breeding behaviour.                   
  • The female digs the mud and lays eggs in shallow burrows in mud.
  • After breeding and egg-laying, they retreat back to the high canopies of the tree and remain elusive till next breeding season.