According to the Wildlife Trust of India the dancing frogs are the most threatened amphibian genus of India.
GS III: Species in News
- Endemic to the Western Ghats: These unique frogs are native to the Western Ghats, a region in India known for its rich biodiversity.
- Habitat Preferences: Dancing frogs tend to inhabit areas with dense canopy cover, typically requiring 70-80 percent coverage.
- Genus Classification: They belong to the Micrixalus genus.
- Global Threat Status: Dancing frogs are part of the Micrixalus genus, which is the fifth most threatened genus of frogs in the world. An alarming 92 percent of species within this genus are categorized as threatened.
- Mating Display: These frogs near streams engage in a distinctive courtship display for mating.
- Foot Flagging: During mating, the males perform an intricate display by extending one hind leg at a time and rapidly moving their webbed toes in the air. This behavior, resembling a dance, serves to attract potential mates and discourage competitors. It is known as “foot flagging,” which is the source of their name, “dancing frogs.”
- Auditory Challenges: The foot flagging behavior is essential as the mating calls of these frogs are often drowned out by the noisy gurgling of streams.
- Role in the Ecosystem: Frogs play a crucial role in the food chain and contribute to various ecological processes.
- Threats: Dancing frogs face several threats to their survival, including invasive species like mosquito fish, changes in land use, variations in temperature and humidity, extreme weather events such as floods and excess rainfall, infectious diseases, water pollution, light pollution, and the impact of infrastructure projects. These factors contribute to their vulnerable status.