EDGE Community

Project information

[Project name/title]

Enhancing the conservation of the Toad Skinned Frog at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve

[Project description/overview]

The toad skinned frog (Indirana phrynoderma) is a rare, endemic, ground-dwelling species, which belongs to the evolutionarily distinct family of Ranixalidae. Recorded only from Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary (IGWLS) and the adjoining reserve forests of Valparai, this species is Critically Endangered, due to its point endemism and ongoing threats including habitat destruction. This project aims to generate baseline information on the species and explore opportunities for habitat conservation with local communities through outreach initiatives

Tamil Nadu, India

Project type:

Relevant EDGE species:
Toad Skinned Frog (Indirana phrynoderma)

Project members:
Arun Kanagavel

Relevant species
88. Toad Skinned Frog (Indirana phrynoderma) CR

This species is sometimes called the 'toad-skinned frog' because of its warty skin.

[Relevance description]
Species background

The toad skinned frog is a rare, endemic, ground-dwelling species currently listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN as it is known only from a restricted area (less than 100 km²) of the Anamalai Hills in the Western Ghats hotspot of India.  It is a member of one of the most ancient lineages of frogs having diverged from all other amphibians almost 50 million years ago.


1. Enhance research knowledge for the conservation of the toad skinned frog 

2. Increase local awareness of and support for the conservation of the toad skinned frog 


Despite being discovered in 1882 very little is known about this species due to the lack of formal research carried out into it to date.  Although protected by national legislation it is being threatened by a continual decline in the extent and quality of its habitat outside of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve.  In light of this there is a crucial need for further information into this species distribution, ecology and habitat requirements alongside habitat conservation in order to ensure its future survival. 

Project summary

Gather baseline information on the distribution, population status and ecology of the toad skinned frog

Surveying will run during the monsoons (June – October) when the toad skinned frog will be breeding and calling, increasing the likelihood of encounter. Although no studies have been conducted, it is thought that, like other members of its genus, the toad skinned frog could breed on wet rocks next to streams. Field surveys will therefore target streams and the course of all those streams to be surveyed will be mapped and habitat assessments made. Surveys for the toad skinned frog will be carried out using a visual encounter and site occupancy methodology.  Each stream will be demarcated into sections (e.g. 50m, 100m) and searched for the toad skinned frogs. When an individual is found, its section along the stream will be recorded and GPS point taken. Detailed morphometric measurements will be taken along with appropriate ecological and behavioural information. The call of the toad skinned frog will also be recorded as this will potentially enable future monitoring of the species to be done more easily.


Assess the specific threats impacting the species and its habitat 

Human disturbance will be recorded during stream habitat assessments. Water samples will be taken from each stream and analysed. Questionnaires will be used to interview local community members and key stakeholders to gather information on human use of the forest and perceptions of threats to the toad skinned frog.


Raise awareness of the toad skinned frog in local communities

Results from the questionnaires and the field habitat assessments will be used to develop a targeted public education programme.

  1. To gather baseline information on and assess the distribution, population status and ecology of the toad skinned frog 
  2. To assess the specific threats impacting the species and its habitat
  3. To raise awareness regarding the toad skinned frog amongst local communities to engage support and develop a targeted public awareness and education programme.
Project members
Mr Arun Kanagavel : EDGE Fellow

A conservation biologist working on herpetofauna and with local communities in the India

[Member role description]
Within this project:
Management of the project and undertaking it in India
Associated Blog Posts
18th Sep 13
My name is Arun Kanagavel and I have been working in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot in India on herpetofauna and with local communities to integr...  Read