Monday, March 11, 2013

Frogs of the northern Western Ghats

Two frogs found in Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary. Spaerotheca breviceps (left) a species found to be relatively common, and Ramanella mororata (right) a species found at only two localities in the sanctuary. Photo credit: U. Katwate.

The Western Ghats of southwest  India are well known foramphibian diversity, with thearae containing 187 species of amphibians, or about 2.7% of the worlds amphibian fauna.  Of the 183, 162 (88.5%) are endemic. Deforestation, changes in land use, urbanization and industrialization and the pathogenic fungus are major threats for Western Ghats amphibians.  Only 9% of the 160,000km2 area of the Western Ghats protected as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Amphibians of the northern Western Ghats are less studied compared to the central and the southern Western Ghats. Katwate et al. (2013) surveyed anuran diversity at the northern Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary and found 22 anuran species, eleven are endemic to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot. Members of the family Dicroglossidae are species-rich within this area. Most of the endemic and threatened anurans are associated with patches of undisturbed evergreen  forest. Habitat parameters such as humidity, forest type, canopy coverage, riparian canopy coverage, stream persistence and litter depth are variables governing species diversity and distribution. The entire article is available on-line.

Two frogs found in Phansad Wildlife Scantuary. Spaerotheca breviceps a species found to be relatively common, and Ramanella mororata a species found at only two localities in the sanctuary. Photo credit: U. Katwate.

Katwate, U., D. Apte & R. Raut (2013). Diversity and distribution of anurans in Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS), northern Western Ghats of India.  Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(2): 3589–3602; doi:10.11609/JoTT.o3038.3589-602

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