ARKive photo - Male purple frog calling

Image courtesy of ARKive photo collection

Species: Purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: The purple frog is the sole surviving member of an ancient group of amphibians that evolved some 130 million years ago!

You may have noticed the purple frog on our homepage before, but this amazing amphibian is so strange we couldn’t help getting it out again! This frog has a highly distinctive and somewhat comical appearance, with a hugely bloated body and short, stout limbs. The small head seems almost too short for the body and the peculiar narrow snout ends in a white, knob-like protrusion. The purple frog is specially adapted for a life of digging and living in burrows, where it spends most of the year. It emerges for several weeks in order to breed, gathering around ponds and streams. The purple frog feeds on termites, which it actively seeks out with its touch-sensitive snout.

Known from only 135 individuals, of which only 3 are female, the purple frog is thought to be an extremely rare species. The main threat to this elusive frog is the loss of its forest habitat to encroaching agriculture. The purple frog is currently a focal species for the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE of Existence programme, which will hopefully help to highlight the need for conservation of this unique species.

View this species on the EDGE website.

View images of the purple frog on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author