Chat Archives
Chat on "Frogs of India" dated January 18, 2014
  • Srinivas: Hello Dr. Susan, guess just on time
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome Srinivas
  • Susan Sharma: Till others come in you start by giving an overview?on the subject of today "frogs of India"
  • Srinivas: Well, frogs are on of the last of the species to catch the attention of people in the animal kingdom, Along the coromandel coast down souh, we have 13-14 species, all of them quite common
  • Srinivas: they are not categorised under endangered or threatened or vulnerable species, by CITES or IUCN
  • Srinivas: Whereas there are species which are threatened and endemic found in western ghats and north eastern part of india
  • Susan Sharma: You mean no frog is considered endangered or threatened by IUCN?
  • Srinivas: No, What i am saying is that the frogs that are found along the coromandel coast, the species found in plains in most areas are not endangered
  • Susan Sharma: What about the overall situation in the world, some frog species must be figuring as endangered/extinct?
  • Srinivas: bcz, they are the ones, that have evloved to live in highly disturbed areas. where there is severe anthropogenic pressure, like the indian common toad, the ornate narrow mouthed frog (Microhyla ornate, painted frogs(Kaloula) etc,
  • Srinivas: Some of the species belonging to rhacophoridae and philatus are endangered.
  • Srinivas: yeah, the over all situation is that some of the amazonian frogs belonging to dendrobatidae are endangered
  • Susan Sharma: How many species of frogs are there in India?
  • Srinivas: apart from habitat destruction these animals face threat from a deadly parasitic fungus, the chytrid fungus
  • Srinivas: One very good example is the Panamian golden frog Atelopus zeteki, that is now likely extinct bcz of this fungal outbreak
  • Susan Sharma: Is the fungal outbreak recorded in India too?
  • Srinivas: Luckily no, may be it is not yet been studied, the difficulty being due to the micro habitat of the animal, the difficulty encountered in their detection and also in estimating the population, though it is not impossible
  • Srinivas: there are more than 196b species of frogs in india and is subject to changes
  • Susan Sharma: 196b?
  • Srinivas: if you look at amphibians, there are three orders, caudates, salientia and gymnophiona
  • Srinivas: sorry 196, typo error
  • Srinivas: caudates include newts and salamanders, in india we have only 1 species, the himalayan newt found in the foot hills of eatern himalayas
  • Susan Sharma: frogs belong to which order of amphibians?
  • Srinivas: Frogs belong to order salientia
  • Srinivas: they are also called as anurans, an - absence and oura - tail
  • Srinivas: gymnohiana are snake like animals, long cylindrical and slender, called as caecilians
  • Srinivas: they are fossorial mostly, so in most of them the eyes are absent or vestigial, but they find their way by using their tentacles, which they use as tactile sensors
  • Srinivas: and salientia includes frogs and toads
  • Srinivas: gymnophiona is also called as Apoda
  • Srinivas: which means absence of legs, limbless
  • Srinivas: the key features in amphibians are
  • Srinivas: the skin is glandular and moist, they lack scales
  • Susan Sharma: Frogs have a reputation of being Environment indicators. How have they got this reputation?
  • Srinivas: Frogs as i said, have a glandular and a very thin lining of skin. Skin is one of the means of respiration as well. the skin is permable to any substance. So noxius materials find their way in easily and affect the animal in terms of fecundity, the next generation so on and so forth
  • Srinivas: so like a very sensitive person, who cannot tolerate a slightest change
  • Susan Sharma: Fertilizers and pesticide use in agriculture must be having a negative effect on frogs. Has this been scientifically studied?
  • Srinivas: they have been studied, but personally i feel that it is an invasive method. like we have to subject these animals to different concentrations of the chemicals and watch them die
  • Srinivas: some like cricket frog or the paddy field frog, has evolved to overcom this situation, the mechanism as to how is not been studied in ddetail, but it does not affect them to a large extent
  • Susan Sharma: Has it been studied in India? Any reports published? The tragedy of endosulfan and diclofenac could have been foretold by studying frogs, you think/ just a layman's thought.
  • Srinivas: these frogs are commonly found. you can find them in agricultural fields
  • Srinivas: the name is so, bcz its sound is similar to that of chirping of crickets
  • Srinivas: the problem encoutered while studying frogs and toads is that they are very hard to detect in terms of size and also the habitat that they occupy. Tadpoles are much smaller.
  • Susan Sharma: srinivas, your knowledge and info. are so interesting. Wish more people were there in the chat room. But th etranscript will be read by many, I am sure.
  • Susan Sharma: All frogs are insect eaters, I guess.
  • Srinivas: yeah, there are hardly any other person
  • Srinivas: most of them are carnivores, feed on invertebrates, mostly ants, spiders etc, tadpoles are herbivores, they feed on algae and detritus
  • Srinivas: some like the voracious bullfrog are capable of taking in a snake
  • Srinivas: they are so massive and the appetite is voracious, esp the African buu frog have snakes on their menu card
  • Srinivas: sorry bull frog
  • Susan Sharma: Where are bull frogs found in India?
  • Srinivas: some levels of cannibalism is also found among tadopoles
  • Susan Sharma: The bull frog saga is curious, since frogs are the favourite food of many snakes.
  • Srinivas: yes, the Indian Bull frog, Hoplobatrachus tigerinus and Jerdon's bull frog, Hoplobatrachus crassus
  • Srinivas: these frogs are found every where, esp at nights, immediately after the monsoon, or heavy rains, you can find them all along, hopping, you can see them on the banks of water bodies, even on roads
  • Srinivas: they are nocturnal
  • Susan Sharma: But in Cities and Metros frogs are almost never seen.
  • Srinivas: yes, bcz of their size, they pose challenge to snakes. Poison frogs are too toxic, their poison is capable of killing humans.
  • Susan Sharma: They used to be found in large parks once. But they not common anymore.
  • Srinivas: yes, bcz, we need to have atleast some traces of water bodies, every inch and piece of land is being converted in to perfect and attractive apartments, or commerical buildings
  • Susan Sharma: Absense of frogs could be a reason for the increase in mosquito population
  • Srinivas: the college where i did my post grad was a perfect and miniature frog haven, i used to enjoy the most, but now its become a parking lot, dry land
  • Srinivas: yes, they feed on their eggs and also the adults
  • Srinivas: you know construction and road enlargements is a misery to these animals, lots of such projects are being sanctioned by the govt
  • Susan Sharma: Has there been an effort to reintroduce frogs into some habitats in India?
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Shashi
  • Srinivas: No such thing has been undertaken atleast in the regoin where i study,
  • Srinivas: I am the second person to study about them as a major project after Dr. Indraneil Das, who studied them in the 90's
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Are frogs also classified as indicators of environment health?
  • Srinivas: Hi Sashi and yes, they are
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: What would their absence or depletion mean other than water bodies disappearing for urbanisation or reclamation of ponds for other reasons
  • Srinivas: their disapperance means disruption in the food chain, they are prey to birds, snakes etc, they control mosquito population, as they predate on their eggs, chiefly. which means an increase in mosquito population
  • Srinivas: the tadpoles feed on algae, they clean up the water bodies
  • Susan Sharma: I find that there is a facebook group called Frogs of India which has over 1000 members. So people are waking up to their importance.
  • Srinivas: water bodies are the most important for survival of life on earth. Amphibians are more closely associated to water than any other animal
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Thanks Srinivfas Ah so if we wish to 'living' waterbodies we need to help frogs.I also recollect that if rainfall were scanty in a particular rainy season there would be fewer
  • Srinivas: and can easily alert us, well ahead
  • Srinivas: yes, it s not only frogs, sashi, we have to help every other animal, Please remember, that we are not alone in this planet, We need to learn to adjust and accomodate non humans as well
  • Srinivas: for self sustanance
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Given how varied is the flora and fauna in India as also the disparate climate, is there any documentation of different species of frogs inhabiting only some parts of the country?
  • Srinivas: yes, Dr. Susan, there is a group, but i think that they do all the photo posting and comments. But yeah, compared to earlier times, there is an awakening, but is not sufficient
  • Srinivas: there is a work done by Dr. Gururaja, of Gubbi labs Bangalore. He has a well documented and picturesque presentation of frogs of western ghats
  • Srinivas: He is now with CES
  • Susan Sharma: What about frogs in the North of India, any study available?
  • Srinivas: I think Dr. Biju is taking care of that. He has some publications
  • Srinivas: there is a basic book on amphibians of Sri lanka by Dr. S.K. Dutta and Kelum Manamendra Arachi
  • Srinivas: but that is not specifically to north india
  • Susan Sharma: Srinivas, thank you for a valuable talk.
  • Srinivas: You are welcome, it is a pleasure to share information and look forward for such talks in future as well, related to conservation, insects, plse let know
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Yeah that was truly informative. Have'nt heard frogs croaking for ages. I am talking North India. Wonder if some species have disappeared already
  • Srinivas: yes, mostly, or bcz of irregular rainfall, they might just croak briefly and disappear
  • Susan Sharma: Thanks for the offer, Srinivas. Suggest a topic on Insects and we can organize a chat soon.
  • Srinivas: they have evloved to overlap their life cycle with minimum rains or less water available, SO you will be seeing a lot of differnece
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Wonder if, given your background, it is possible to put together a ppt dealing with the basics of Frogs and our Environment which could generate interest in common people noticing frogs and their activity
  • Srinivas: Yes, Dr. Susan, sure will let you know on that
  • Susan Sharma: That is an excellent suggestion, Shashi
  • Srinivas: Yes, it is a worthy a try Sashi, good suggestion
  • Srinivas: you know lack of info and knowledge keeps people in the dark
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Hoping IWC will be will publish that as part of their ezine and also in the blogs section
  • Susan Sharma: We will be in touch on mail about the ppt and chat.
  • Srinivas: a little bit of work and little bit of attraction to the eyes, in terms of a colorful ppt will take care of the rest i guess
  • Srinivas: Yes, Sure, Dr. Susan
  • Srinivas: Yes, can be done
  • Srinivas: and any other activities like a talk or presentation can be also done in the future
  • Shashi Kant Sharma: Thanks once again Srinivas for letting us peep into the world of frogs
  • Susan Sharma: If there are no more questions, shall we close the chat room?
  • Srinivas: Yes, I think we can communicate the rest thr email, Can we? about future sessions and such things
  • Srinivas: and thnks for providng the opportunity to share, this is my first one
  • Susan Sharma: Yes, Srinivas. please keep in touch thro mail. As soon as we close the chat room, the chat transcript-unedited- will appear in our archives.
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you and good night.
  • Srinivas: thank you
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