Maharashtra golden-backed frog found in Sahyadri Tiger Reserve
Wildlife researchers have documented the presence of the Maharashtra golden-backed frog (Indosylvirana caesari) for the first time from the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) in the Western Ghats.
The unique species was identified earlier this week near a remote waterfall by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau member Rohan Bhate and wildlife researcher Hemant Kenjale during a study tour to explore the reserve’s biodiversity.
“There has been very little research and hardly any information available about these species, their reproduction, and other scientific evidence. The amphibian was earlier reported at Amboli, Sindhudurg. However, the recent identification across steep slopes of STR and across waterfalls in some remote areas during the post-monsoon months of September October is crucial for species identification, habitat, and range,” said Bhate.
Endemic to the Western Ghats, the rare species is one of the six species of golden-backed frogs (four from Kerala and one each from Karnataka and Maharashtra) discovered by a team of biologists led by Delhi-based amphibian researcher Satyabhama Das Biju and his team in 2014 in the Western Ghats. Of these, the Maharashtra golden-backed frog was found in Amboli and Sindhudurg. The species was named after wildlife photographer and well-known pathologist Caesar Sengupta.
“The Maharashtra golden-backed frog differs from other members of its group based on characteristic features of its body and the sharper golden colour on its back,” said Bhate. “STR is home to countless such wildlife treasures that are yet to be discovered.”
Forest officials said prior to this in 2011-12, the Maharashtra Forest Department, International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Amphibian Specialist Group, Sanctuary Asia, and Lost Amphibians of India launched a major project on extinct lost amphibians in India. Following this, there were reports of the species documented near Vasota Fort in Satara in 2013.
“In order to update our 10-year management plan of STR, the department has undertaken studies to identify, review, and further explore the endemic flora, fauna, and other biodiversity of STR,” said STR field director Samadhan Chavan.