88.
Gundia Indian Frog
(Indirana gundia)
CR
Overview
The Gundia Indian frog belongs to a family that has been evolving independently in India for almost 50 million years. It is a ground-dwelling species, living on the forest floor of a single, small area of the Western Ghats. Not much is known about the life history of this species because it has been little-studied since its formal discovery in 1986. However, it is known to breed on wet rocks around streams and produces finless tadpoles that develop on these rocks. The species is threatened by habitat destruction and degradation.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Surveys and further study fo this species; habitat conservation working with local communities; captive breeding programme should be investigated.
Distribution
Western Ghats, India.
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Anura
Family: Ranixalidae
The Gundia Indian frog, along with its nine other close relatives in the genus Indirana, has previously been placed in the family Ranidae (the “true frogs”) under the genus Rana (also referred to as the “true frogs”). The true frogs have the widest range of any family among the frogs and toads, found in nearly all regions of the world except Antarctica and are most common in Africa and southeastern Asia. This family was formerly the largest within the frogs and toads, containing well over 600 species. It has recently been split up into several different families, one of these being the Ranixalidae (or the “Indian frogs”).

The Indian frogs are a family within the sub order Neobatrachia or the “modern frogs and toads”, which contains all the more recently evolved groups. They diverged from all other species of amphibian almost 50 million years ago – 15 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs and around the same time as the common ancestor of the porcupine and the chinchilla. This family exhibits a number of interesting characteristics, including sucking discs on the tips of the digits, vocal sacs either side of the throat, and tadpoles that possess finless tails and develop on the surfaces of wet rocks next to streams. They are generally thought to be terrestrial (or ground-dwelling) species.
Description
The Gundia Indian frog is small in size, with a total length of 23-38 mm. The colour of the back is variable, ranging from brown to yellowish, via golden, cream, pinkish and reddish hues. This colouration probably provides good camouflage when the frog is surrounded by decaying leaves on the forest floor where it lives. This species can have maroon spots, and sometimes a yellow, cream, golden or orange band running laterally down the centre of the back. The stomach is yellowish to golden, with variable melanophores (or dark spots). The eyes are golden in colour on the upper half and clear silver-white on the lower half; these two shades separated by a horizontally oval pupil. The eyes have a reddish bar marking in front and behind, either side of the pupil. A largish, maroon colour tympanum (or ear drum) is visible on either side of the head just down from the eye.

Adults have long, muscular legs and the digits on both pairs of limbs are unwebbed but are dilated into disc-like suckers. The head is fairly pointed and the skin has longitudinal glandular folds along the back. The mouth is wide and the buccal cavity (or inside of the mouth) is whitish or yellowish. The tadpoles of Indian frogs possess a very long tail which lacks a fin and has external gills when hatched. The mouth of the tadpoles is beaky and contains small, corn-like teeth.
Ecology
Very little is known of the ecology of this species because it has been little-studied since its formal discovery in 1986. However, Gundia Indian frogs have been observed breeding on wet rocks next to streams. The finless tadpoles are found on wet rock surfaces next to streams where they probably scour the rock surfaces for algae or other organic material.

The diet of this species is not known for certain, although it probably hunts small to medium sized invertebrates in the leaf litter of the forest floor.
Habitat
A terrestrial (or ground-dwelling) species found in moist tropical forest.
Distribution
The species is known only from the area where it was first found: "Gundia, forêt de Kemphole, à l'ouest de Sakleshpur, Karnataka, Inde" in the Western Ghats of India, also referred to as the forests of Kempshole and Sakleshpur. The area from which this species was originally discovered is at an elevation of around 200m above sea level.
Population Estimate
An accurate population estimate is currently unavailable for the species.
Population Trend
Considered to be in decline by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Status
Listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because its extent of occurrence is less than 100 km sq., all individuals are in a single location, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
Threats
The Gundia Indian frog is threatened by habitat loss caused by intensive livestock production, harvesting of timber by local people, road construction, and the development of tourism facilities.
Conservation Underway
This species is not known from any protected areas. Currently, no conservation measures are underway, although it is formally protected by national legislation.
Conservation Proposed
Further survey work is required within the only known locality of this species, and within suitable nearby forests to determine the range and population status of this species.

Habitat conservation is a priority within the restricted range of this species, which should ideally include a community conservation programme gathering support from local people who carry out livestock farming and firewood collection on this land. This may engender new methods of sustainable land management in this area, allowing for traditional land uses and the conservation of some important habitat for the Gundia Indian frog.

In addition to conserving native habitat for this species, the IUCN Technical Guidelines for the Management of Ex situ Populations, part of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, recommend that all Critically Endangered species should have an ex situ population managed to guard against the extinction of the species. An ex situ population is ideally a breeding colony of a species maintained outside of its natural habitat, giving rise to individuals from that species that are sheltered from problems associated with their situation in the wild. This can be located in the specie’s range or in a foreign country that has the facilities to support a captive breeding programme for that species. Since the Gundia Indian frog is categorised as Critically Endangered, the possibility of a captive breeding programme for this species should be investigated.
Links
References
AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation [web application]. 2006. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available:amphibiaweb. Accessed: 08 December 2006.

Biju, S.D. 2001. A synopsis to the frog fauna of the Western Ghats, India. Occasional Publication 1. ISCB : 1-24.

Biju, S.D., Dutta, S. & Inger, R. 2004. Indirana gundia. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 01 August 2007.

Chanda, S.K. and Deuti, K. 1997. Endemic Amphibians of India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India 96(1-4): 63-79.

Dubois, A. 1986. Diagnose preliminaire d'an nonvean genre de Ranoidea (Amphibians, Anoures) du snd de l'Inde. Alytes 4(3): 113-118.

Dutta, S.K. 1997. Amphibians of India and Sri Lanka. Odyssey Publishing House, Bhubaneswar.

Frost, D. R., Grant, T., Faivovich, J., Bain, R.H., Haas, A., Haddad, C. F. B., De Sá, R.O., Channing, A., Wilkinson, M., Donnellan, S.C., Raxworthy, C.J., Campbell, J.A., Blotto, B.L., Moler, P., Drewes, R.C., Nussbaum, R.A., Lynch, J.D., Green, D.M., and Wheeler, W.C. 2006. The Amphibian Tree of Life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1-370.

Frost, Darrel R. 2006. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 4 (17 August 2006). Electronic Database accessible at: . American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA.

Halliday, T. and Adler, C. (eds.). 2002. The new encyclopedia of reptiles and amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

IUCN, Conservation International and NatureServe. 2006. Global Amphibian Assessment. Global Amphibian Assessment. Accessed on 08 December 2006.

Obst, F.J., Richter, K. and Jacob, U. 1984. The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium. T.F.H. Publication Inc., N.J., U.S.A.

Roelants, K., Gower, D. J., Wilkinson, M., Loader, S. P., Biju, S. D., Guillaume, K., Moiau, L. and Bossuyt, F. 2007. Global patterns of diversification in the history of modern amphibians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 887-892.

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