Frog of the Week

Castle Rock Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus petraeus)

Castle Rock Night Frog
photo by Krushnamegh Kunte

Common Name: Castle Rock Night Frog
Scientific Name: Nyctibatrachus petraeus
Family: Nyctibatrachidae – Night Frog family
Locations: India
Size: 1.25 – 1.85 inches (32 – 47 mm)

The Castle Rock Night Frog lives near the streams in the evergreen forests of Castle Rock in the western Ghats of India. Mating season coincides with the start of the southwest monsoon season in late May / early June. Males call from leaves overhanging streams. The female selects her mate but the male picks the spot to lay the eggs. The Castle Rock Night Frog do not perform amplexus (where the male grabs the female from behind) when mating. The female lays between 10 to 50 eggs and leaves. Then, the male comes over and fertilizes the eggs. Then, the male moves to a different spot on the leaf and calls for a new female. The mating season lasts until September. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the stream below where they will complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Castle Rock Night Frog as Least Concern for Extinction The frog is common in its large range. However, the forests of the western Ghats have been changed by humans. Portions of the forests has been changed to plantations for Eucalyptus, coffee, and tea and more land continues to change.

New Species

New Species and Genus from the Western Ghats of India

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A new species of frog was discovered in the Western Ghats of India. The Western Ghats is an incredible place to go frogging. There are three known families of frogs that are only found there and hundreds of different species of frogs. Not only was this new species discovered, it has been put into a new genus by itself and its own new subfamily.

Researchers decided on the common name  of the new frog as the Starry Dwarf Frog (Astrobatrachus kurichiyana) after the light spots on their body that resemble stars. The genus name also reflects that stars,  astro meaning star in Greek and batrachus meaning frog. The species epithet, Kurichiyana, is the name of the local tribal community living near the frogs. The Starry Dwarf Frog is a member of the family Nyctibatrachidae, a fairly new family. The family is only found in India and Sri Lanka. The new subfamily is named Astrobatrachinae.

The conservation status of the frog is currently unknown. Not much really is known about the Starry Dwarf Frog. What is known is that it is mainly terrestrial and nocturnal.  They are a small species of frogs, only growing to an inch long.

Read the full scientific article at https://peerj.com/articles/6457/

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