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‘Mahabali frog’ may be Kerala’s official amphibian

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  • Published
    25th Apr, 2022


The purple frog, one of the rarest frog species endemic to the Western Ghats, would soon be declared as Kerala’s official amphibian. 


About Mahabali or Maveli Frog:

  • The purple frog (or pig-nosed frog) spends much of its life underground, emerging briefly for a few days each year at the start of the monsoons to breed.
  • The purple frog is one of only two species in the family
  • This family is endemic to the Western Ghats of India and has been evolving independently for around 100 million years.
  • Molecular evidence has found the purple frogs to be most closely related to a family of tiny frogs only found on the Seychelles.
  • It is thought the two families shared a common ancestor that was subsequently isolated on different landmasses following the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana.
  • As it is a fossorial (burrowing) species, the purple frog was long overlooked by science, being formally described in only 2003, despite already having a number of local names.
  • The tadpoles are adapted to living in torrents and have specialised sucker-like mouthparts which they use to cling onto the algae covered rocks where they feed.
  • The purple frog is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, and is threatened by deforestation from expanding cultivation, in addition to consumption and harvesting by local communities. 


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