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MAR 2020  
Special Feature
The Curious Case of the Indian Painted Frog: On India’s Amphibian Fauna

Many tiny, beautiful colourful creatures exist in nature but we seldom take notice of them. It could be that our hectic lifestyles and growing urbanization allow us fewer chances of encountering and appreciating natural phenomena. Worldwide, there are 5500 known amphibians divided into three main categories-salamanders, newts, and mudpuppies; caecilians; and frogs and toads. As per the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, of all the animal groups, amphibians are the most threatened.

The World of Frogs

India has some of the world’s diverse amphibian fauna. The world’s 5% of species are found in the country. The Western Ghats are home to 200 species and 88% of them are endemic to the region. In the past decade, many new species of frogs have been found here.

Frogs outnumber salamanders and caecilians. They can live in any environment and are found in every continent except Antarctica. Round the year, frogs thrive in muddy ponds and stagnant marshes. With the onset of monsoons, frogs are seen in the open. It is then when they really find their voice. Croaking loud, they make their presence felt. Each species of frogs and toads have their own unique voice. Only found in India, the Bombay Bush Frog is a tiny frog whose voice resembles a typewriter’s tapping sound. In nature, frogs and toads boast of a kaleidoscope of colours. They never cease to amaze us when we see them in yellow, blue, purple, orange, and red and of bold stripes and spots. Normally, frogs are associated with shady greens and muddy browns. These are the colours which help them to camouflage and blend in. But not all frogs try to blend in.

To Burrow or Not to Burrow

In Hindu mythology, frogs are associated with rain and fertility. Most poisonous frogs produce poison to fight predators. However, Indian frogs employ a different defence mechanism. In fact, no poisonous frogs are found in India and they are harmless to humans. The Fungoid frog is a brightly coloured frog, which produces an unpleasant odour to fight predators. The Indian Bullfrog is the largest frog in India. In recent times, some new species of night frogs have been discovered. Four of these species are tiniest in the world, and are smaller than 0.7 inches. There are 13 species of the Gliding frog in the country. One of the diverse species, these tree-dwelling frogs are found largely in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. South Asia is also home to the Indian Burrowing frog. In 2017, four new species of this species were discovered in the Western Ghats. Unlike other members of the family, this species can burrow.

Of Frogs and the Full Moon

Recently, I experienced a very dramatic moment when I spotted a colourful frog at the big hollow of a 40-feet tall tree in my lawn. The colourful wet thing was coming out from a tree hollow and watching the full moon with its two big glowing eyes. My mind boomed with the question as to how a frog could climb the tree hollow located at that height! Awed by this beautiful creature and its ability, I rushed to my house to get my camera and capture some shots of the amphibian. But, it started playing hide-and-seek with me. A few days later, again, I had another pleasant meeting with the frog. This time, it was trying to collect food and I was intrigued to know to which species it belonged. Consulting some experts and books, I came to know it was the Indian Painted Frog or Asian Painted Frog. It is also known as Chubby Frog or Banded Bullfrog.

The Indian Painted Frog (Kaloula pulchra) belongs to the genus Kaloula, which is widespread in South Asia. The genus Kaloula has 19 species around the world and since 2000, five new species have been discovered. India has four species of Kaloula, out of which K. assamensis, K. pulchara, and K. taprobanica are found in eastern India. K. baleata are native to Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, southern Thailand, and the Philippines. The subspecies K. baleata goshi are found in the Andaman Islands. The Painted Frog can be found in Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. In Bengal, it is known as Vepu bang and Sundari Bang in different parts of the state. The Painted Frog found in West Bengal is known as K. pulchra. It is a medium-sized frog (60 mm in average) with rounded short head, fingertips, and colouration, which distinguish it from other Indian frogs. Sometimes, however, it is confused with Ramanella sp. The presence of bony ridges immediately below choanae in Kaloula sp. clears all the confusions. It lives in rural areas, agricultural and forest areas as well as urban towns. The frog is bright red to dull pink in colour with a good combination of brown and black and is spotted irregularly with white all over its body. This frog has ‘tree-climbing’ abilities like monkeys and squirrels. It feeds on termites and other small insects.

Celebrating Frogs

Many people consider frogs as a nuisance. However, they are important bioindicator organisms. If there are many amphibians in the surrounding, it indicates that the environment is in a healthy state. Frogs are also essential part of the ecosystem because they are both predator and prey in the food chain.

On 29 April, ‘Save the Frogs Day’ celebrates the unique qualities of the world’s frogs.

Amar Kumar Nayak is Assistant Teacher at Sersole Junior Basic School, West Bengal. 

   
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Nominations open for CSP Today India awards 2013


The inaugural CSP Today India awards ceremony takes place on March 12, and CSP developers, EPCs, suppliers and technology providers can now be nominated.

CSP has made tremendous progress since the announcement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. With Phase I projects now drawing closer to completion, the first milestone in Indias CSP learning curve is drawing closer. CSP Today has chosen the next CSP Today India conference (12-13 March, New Delhi) as the time for the industry to reflect upon its progress and celebrate its first achievements.

At the awards ceremony, industry leaders will be recognized for their achievements in one of 4 categories: CSP India Developer Award, CSP India Engineering Performance Award, CSP India Technology and Supplier Award, and the prestigious CSP India Personality of the Year.

Matt Carr, Global Events Director at CSP Today, said at the opening of nominations that CSP Today are excited to launch these esteemed awards, which will enhance the reputation of their recipients. I am particularly excited to launch the CSP India Personality of the Year award, a distinguished honor for the industry figure deemed worthy by their peers.

All eyes will be on the CSP Today India 2013 Awards when nomination entry closes on February 4 and the finalists are announced on February 11. The awards are open to all industry stakeholders to nominate until February 4 at
http://www.csptoday.com/india/awards-index.php or by e-mail to [email protected]

Contact:
Matt Carr
+44 (0) 20 7375 7248
[email protected]