Creature of the Week #2: The Purple Frog

Alongside highlighting music that deserves more attention (and which is sometimes strange and sometimes beautiful), we are fundraising for animals that deserve more attention (and are sometimes strange and sometimes beautiful) through the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE program for Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Creatures.

You can find out more about their ongoing work on their blog.

Sally Wren is the charity’s representative and posts a creature of the week, from among the many distinctive endangered animals that EDGE supports worldwide, to our Facebook group on Fridays.

This week it’s the Purple Frog!

Sally said:

“Today we’re heading to India, the home of the purple frog!

“The purple frog was only scientifically recognised in 2003, and is one of the most incredible amphibian discoveries of recent years – the first new frog family to be discovered since 1926! The purple frog is the sole representative of an ancient lineage of frogs that has been evolving independently for over 130 million years. This frog was therefore sharing the earth with the dinosaurs for 70 million years and is as different from any other species as an elephant is from a human. Honestly! Its closest relatives are a group of tiny frogs (only about 1cm long) found in the Seychelles.

“True to its name, this frog is purple coloured, and has a distinctive bloated appearance – it has been described by some as a purple blob! It is much larger than its ancient relatives from the Seychelles, and spends most of the year burrowing underground, sometimes over 3 metres deep. These frogs surface for just two weeks during the monsoon season (starting about now!) to mate, which is probably why this species remained unknown for so long. The bloated shape of both male and female purple frogs, and the smaller size of the male, may mean that males have to partially glue themselves onto females using sticky skin secretions – lovely!

“Read more here:

“Unfortunately this species is threatened by ongoing forest loss for tea, coffee, cardamom and ginger plantations. EDGE is supporting a young Indian PhD student, Ashish Thomas, who is one of the few people worldwide working on the purple frog.

Ashish aims to find out more about this frog’s life focusing mainly on breeding behaviour and tadpole development. This will help in understanding the threats faced by this species during various stages in its life, so that conservation can be put in place to protect the wonderful purple frog.

Read Ashish’s latest blog here:”

We have hit £1,111.11 raised for the EDGE campaign at our JustGiving site today – please help if you can, the site accepts a minimum donation of £2 and biodiversity is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today.


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