A checklist of amphibians of Kerala, India

Sandeep Das


Forest Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation Division, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Peechi, Kerala 680653, India






doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.2003.7.13.8023-8035 | ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:37120269-A512-41E4-9C2A-1E61D7A89DCC


Editor: Mewa Singh, University of Mysore, Mysuru, India. Date of publication: 17 November 2015 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # o4307 | Received 11 May 2015 | Final received 23 September 2015 | Finally accepted 29 September 2015


Citation: Das, S. (2015). A checklist of amphibians of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 80238035; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.2003.7.13.8023-8035


Copyright: © Das 2015. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: None.


Conflict of Interest: The author declares no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: I am thankful to my team members viz. P.O. Nameer, Rajeev Raghavan, A Bijukumar, Mohamed Jafer Palot and Praveen J in helping in the succesful completion of this checklist. I would like to acknowledge P.S. Easa, and K.A. Sreejith for their encouragement. I would also like to thank Anil Zachariah, Lilly Margaret Eluvathingal, K.P. Rajkumar and Dhaneesh Bhaskar for constructive comments on the manuscript and for helping with the new vernacular names for amphibians of Kerala.







Abstract: A checklist of amphibians of Kerala State is presented in this paper. Accepted English names, scientific binomen, vernacular names in Malayalam, IUCN conservation status, endemism, Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act schedules, and the appendices in the CITES, pertaining to the amphibians of Kerala are also given. The State of Kerala has 151 species of amphibians, 136 of which are endemic to Western Ghats and 50 species fall under the various threatened categories of IUCN.


Keywords: Endemism, CITES, Malayalam name, vernacular name, Western Ghats, Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act.



Globally, there are about 7,356 known amphibian species belonging to three living orders (Frost 2015). From January 2004 until March 2015 the world has witnessed the discovery and description of 1,786 species of amphibians (Amphibia Web 2015). At the same time, 36 species of amphibians are extinct and over 1,957 species are threatened (Monastersky 2014). The golden era of amphibian systematics in India was during the British Raj from the 1850s to 1925 (Biju 2001), followed by the period from 2000 to 2015 (Amphibia Web 2015), when vast number of amphibians were described from our country. Of the 384 species found in India (Dinesh et al. 2015), 154 were described between 2000 and March 2015, among which 111 are from the Western Ghats. At the current pace, with new technologies, tools, and more taxonomists working on amphibians in the country, it is likely that several new species will get described in the near future.

Dutta (1997) published the first checklist on Indian amphibians with 212 species. Later Das & Duttta (1998) updated the list with English names. Another update on the list was done by Daniels (2001). Chanda (2002) was the first to publish a Handbook on Indian Amphibians with brief accounts followed by Daniels (2005) with 238 species of amphibians from Peninsular India in his book Amphibians of Peninsular India. Dinesh et al. (2009) published an annotated checklist of amphibians of India as an occasional paper of Zoological Survey of India with a total of 248 species including all new species described till 2009. Gururaja (2012) published a pictorial guide to frogs and toads of the Western Ghats. Dinesh and his colleagues have periodically updated the checklist of amphibians of India and a recent updated version of the list was made available online in 2015 with 384 species.

Studies on amphibians in Kerala date back to the descriptions in Fauna of British India volumes by Boulenger (1882, 1890, 1892), followed by a list of Batrachians of Travancore (Kanyakumari to present Munnar (Devikulam Taluk)) by Ferguson (1904) and tadpole descriptions by Annandale & Rao (1916, 1917). Other significant work on amphibians of Kerala are Pillai & Pattabiraman (1981, 1990), Inger (1984), Biju (2001), Biju & Bossuyt (2003), Easa (2003) and Sivaprasad (2013).

Since then several taxonomic revisions and new species have been described by Biju & Bossuyt (2005a, 2005b, 2005c), Biju et al. (2007), Gururaja et al. (2007), Biju & Bossuyt (2009), Biju et al. (2010), Zachariah et al. (2011a, 2011b), Biju et al. (2011), Abraham et al. (2013), Biju et al. (2014a, 2014b), Vijayakumar et al. (2014), Peloso et al. (2014). In addition, a checklist of amphibians of Kerala, with 104 species was published by Dinesh et al. (2010). Seventy-three species of amphibians have been described from India after 2010 and no updated checklists on the amphibians of Kerala have been made since 2010. The present paper attempts to provide an exhaustive, comprehensive and up-to date list with valid nomenclature of amphibians known from Kerala. The taxonomy and nomenclature follows Frost (2015). Majority of the vernacular names are freshly coined as there were no known existing names.

In this monograph, 151 species of amphibians in 11 families and two orders are listed. Out of which 136 are endemic to Western Ghats. Fifty species of amphibians of Kerala, fall under the various threatened categories of IUCN, and five are Near Threatened. Nineteen species fall under the schedules IV of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and two species come under appendix II of CITES.





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