One of our focal EDGE amphibians – the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) – has been caught on camera for the first time by EDGE-affiliated researcher Dr. Sathyabhama Das Biju and his team at the University of Delhi.
Supported by EDGE at the Zoological Society of London and generous funding from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, the purple frog is receiving conservation attention across its range as a result of a collaborative project.
When the purple frog was discovered in 2003 by Dr. Biju (then of the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Kerala) and Dr. Franky Bossuyt (Free University of Brussels, Belgium) it was a global news story – the first new family of amphibians to be discovered since 1926! The BBC described this exciting new frog thus:
“Its head appears too small for its body and it looks more like a squat, grumpy blob than a living creature.”
During a research trip in the summer of 2008, Dr. S.D. Biju and his team at the University of Delhi filmed the purple frog going about its daily business. Although it spends most of its time up to 4m underground burrowing for termites, this amazing footage represents a rare glimpse of the species above ground. It surfaces only to breed during the monsoon. Chirruping away like a tiny, purple terrier, this footage exclusively reveals the purple frog running around (not hopping) and calling for mates.
We hope that increased awareness of the purple frog will guarantee its survival in the wild. The footage has been aired today on the BBC, with an interview with EDGE Amphibians coordinator Helen Meredith occurring on BBC 24 World News, and is on the BBC website here.