By P. Venugopal
The Wayanad frog can change its hue to all conceivable patterns to effect perfect camouflage with its surroundings.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 24. A `blup-blup' sound resembling that of water drops falling on a stagnant pool could be heard coming from high up the trees in the Wayanad forests during the monsoon. The source of this sound had remained a mystery to researchers for decades.
Six years ago, the naturalists Anil Zachariah and P.K. Uthaman found that it was the call of a canopy frog that had made the high branches of the trees its home. Soon, the frog expert S.D. Biju was after the hitherto unknown creature, scouring these rainforests in the Western Ghats for a specimen.
Locating this strange frog was a real challenge and, ultimately, when he succeeded, it was found perching perfectly camouflaged on a branch more than 20 metres high.
Dr. Biju, who is now doing research in Brussels Free University in Belgium, and Franky Bossuyt of the same institution, recently identified that the frog belongs to an entirely new species. They have reported their find, Philautus nerostagona, in a recent issue of the Current Science.