Additional record of Resplendent Bush Frog Raorchestes resplendens (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from the Western Ghats, India
Jobin Joseph 1, K.M. Jobin 2 & P.O. Nameer 3
1,2,3 Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur. 680 656. Kerala. India.
Email: 1 email@example.com, 2 firstname.lastname@example.org, 3 email@example.com (corresponding author)
Raorchestes resplendens Biju, Souche, Dubois, Dutta & Bossuyt, is an endemic and Critically Endangered (IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2011) species of rhacophorid that was described in the year 2010 from Anamudi summit of Eravikulam National Park, in the Western Ghats (Biju et al. 2010). As of today, the species is known only from the type locality, the Anamudi summit, which is the highest point in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 2695m. According to Biju et al. (2010) R. resplendens is highly restricted in its distribution, less than 3km2 around the summit of Anamudi.
On 3 May 2012, during the course of the Nilgiri Tahr Nilgiritragus hylocrius survey at Eravikulam National Park, we spotted and photographed one R. resplendens from the Poovar region of Eravikulam National Park. Poovar is about 20km (on ground) north east of Anamudi summit (Images 1 & 2). The GPS location of the present sighting is 10017Õ07.04ÓN and 77006Õ10.8ÓE, at an altitude of 2522m. The macro habitat of the Poovar is grassland-shola forests, while the R. resplendens was sighted in the grassland (Image 3) and was seen within the grass clump. The nearby shola patch from the current sighting is at least 1km away.
Raorchestes resplendens is a brightly coloured frog (Images 4 & 5), with reddish-orange upper side, including the dorsal parts of limbs, fingers and toes. The groin and inner side of the thighs are black, ventral side pale yellow, with irregular oval top hexagonal granulation, and bright red iris.
Biju et al. (2010) did not sight any individual of R. resplendens outside the type locality. Thus, the present sighting of R. resplensens from Poovar region within Eravikulam National Park, ~20km north-east off the type locality, could be the first site record of the R. resplensens outside the type locality. It is likely that R. resplensens may be more widespread in the high altitude primary grasslands of Eravikulam National Park and surrounding areas of the Western Ghats, than it was earlier thought. The tiny size snout-vent length of 22.7–24.5 mm, (Biju et al. 2010), the cryptic behaviour and specialised micro-habitat requirement such as the grassy clump among the high altitude grasslands, all put together make R. resplensens an elusive frog.
Biju, S.D., Y. Shouche, A. Dubois, S.K. Dutta & F. Bossuyt (2010). A ground-dwelling rhacophorid frog from the highest mountain peak of the Western Ghats of India. Current Science 98(8): 1119–1125.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2011). Raorchestes resplendens. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 15 September 2012.