Bizarre chirruping Purple Frog captured on film for the first time

Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com
January 07, 2009

Species spends most of its life underground, emerging only during monsoon season

Discovered only in 2003, the unique purple frog has been captured on film for the first time in India’s Western Ghats. A team of biologists from the University of Delhi, led by Dr. Sathyabhama Das Biju, captured several seconds of film of the frog running swiftly while calling for a mate with a distinct squeak.

The frog evaded discovery for so long, because it spends the majority of its life buried up to four meters underground, only surfacing for a few weeks during India’s monsoon to mate. This is not the only aspect of the species that makes it notable however: the purple frog comprises an entirely new family of amphibian. The family, called Nasikabatrachidae, is the first new amphibian family since 1926. According to the EDGE program, it is believed the frog’s unique family has evolved independently for over 130 million years with the purple frog as its last representative.

Purple Frog. Photo by Dr. S.D. Biju. Photo courtesy of ZSL.

Purple Frog. Photo by Dr. S.D. Biju. Photo courtesy of ZSL.
Already classified as endangered in the IUCN red list due to forest loss, conservation plans for this one-of-a-kind species are currently being undertaken by EDGE, a conservation program through the Zoological Society of London devoted to unique and endangered species. Additional funding for the frog’s conservation has been provided by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

For footage of the frog please see EDGE’s blog: http://www.edgeofexistence.org/edgeblog

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Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com (January 07, 2009).

Bizarre chirruping Purple Frog captured on film for the first time.