‘The purple frog’s lineage is 120 million years old. It has seen Earth itself evolve’

What is the News?

New research has been conducted by a biologist on Purple Frog.

What is Purple Frog?
Source: Wikipedia

​​The purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis), Indian purple frog or pignose frog is a frog species of the genus Nasikabatrachus

Conservation status:

IUCN Status: Endangered

Discovered in: It was first discovered in 2003 in the Idukki district of Kerala by S.D. Biju from the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, India and Franky Bossuyt from Brussels.

Distribution: The frog is endemic to the Western Ghats. Its distribution limited mainly to Kerala and some parts of Tamil Nadu.

Significance: The purple frog is a unique animal. This frog has an evolutionary history that goes back 120 million years — this is one of the oldest lineages among all living frogs on Earth. Species with such old lineages are termed a ‘living fossil’.

– Human evolution has taken place over six million years, so consider what a major chunk of Earth’s history the purple frog’s 120 million years covers. 

– For instance, the DNA of this frog witnessed many great events that happened on Earth over millions of years such as huge tracts of land split into continents, the Himalayas were formed, dinosaurs going extinct and placental mammals evolved.


Lives Underground: This is a fossorial species-that lives underground emerging just once a year. It has physical adaptations that help it survive in such extreme conditions.

Breeding Activity: Its breeding activity coincides with pre-monsoon showers. The male frogs take their cue from these and emerge from their burrows to call potential partners — these calls can be heard up to 100 meters away. 

Sensitive to Disturbances: These animals are very sensitive to disturbances. Any interference with their calling behaviour withdraws them into their burrows.

Threats: The greatest threat to it is habitat destruction from human activities including agricultural expansion, construction and road building with dam reservoirs also causing the submergence of its habitat.

Source:  This post is based on the article ‘The purple frog’s lineage is 120 million years old. It has seen Earth itself evolve’ published in TOI on 16th April 2022.

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