Common name: reed shrubfrog
Philautus is a large radiation of shrubfrogs that belong to treefrog family Rhacophoridae. There are 32 described species of Philautus from the Western Ghats, all endemic to this region. Recently, several new species were described from this region and probably many more remain to be discovered. Philautus ochlandrae is one among those described by K.V. Gururaja and his associates in 2007.
Brief description: This species is easily differentiated from all other species described from this region. Its pupils are distinctive with striking golden yellow dentition-like marks. Dorsal side is brown to cream with two broad golden yellow stripes and numerous golden yellow spots. This frog attains a body length of up to 26.5 mm (SVL). The Reed shrubfrog is one of the most spectacularly colored shrubfrogs of the Ghats. The species name was coined by Gururaja and his associates as ‘ochlandrae’ because of its close association with reed brakes.
Color: Light brown to creamy yellowish throughout dorsal surface, with two invariable and distinct golden yellow streaks running from snout, along the side of head, to near the vent; unique golden-yellow markings on the iris of the eye.
Distribution: Philautus ochlandrae is reported only from the type locality in the Kakkayam Reserve Forest of Calicut District at around 745 m asl. The species, most likely occurs in the Anamalai Hills (K.V. Gururaja 2008. Philautus ochlandrae. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. www.iucnredlist.org).
Conservation status: Listed as Data Deficient since it has only recently been described. Very little is known about its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, status and ecological requirements (K.V. Gururaja 2008. Philautus ochlandrae. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. www.iucnredlist.org).
Major threats: The habitat of this species is being fragmented by a major dam construction and other related activities. Most likely its ideal breeding site is shrinking.
Conservation requirement: Determining geographical range, habitat preference and breeding ecology are essential for accurate conservation assessment and further conservation action of this beautiful species. In particular, field survey and accurate identification of Anamalai population is needed to confirm its geographical range within the Western Ghats.
reed frog calling...
Photograph, video and Text: K V Gururaja