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Frogs of Coorg Print E-mail

20th Century amphibian surveyors have relied largely on large area transects to document populations. We find these methods very ineffective because animals leave the area before they can be recorded, a large number are simply overlooked and the microhabitat is difficult to describe accurately. Quite simply it is impossible to search large areas properly. Instead we developed a method which utilises a cubic meter volume from which frogs are unable to escape, easy to find and microhabitat type can be characterised easily. This method allows large hetereogenous habitats to be sampled without bias and ensures that amphibians are not overlooked. The equipment needed is both simple and inexpensive (less than US$2).

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Dr B. Maheshwaran with the sampling device.
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As well as taking photographs of adult and juvenile frogs we raised large numbers of tadpoles and documented each stage. Being able to identify tadpoles is essential if we are ever to understand why amphibians disappear when their habitat is altered.

Previously no recordings of Indian amphibian calls were available. Calls are particularly useful in the study of the rarest members of the community, because they tend to be arboreal or cryptic species, that are usually overlooked in rapid assessments. Calls are also invaluable in determining the taxonomic status of some groups, which contain many species that look very similar, but attract mates using very different songs.

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We chose a coffee estate bordering Nagarhole National Park for this project because we wanted to sample both undisturbed and agricultural areas. Using this methodology we were able to estimate amphibian diversity, density and biomass in a wide range of habitats. The result was one of the most detailed studies of a single amphibian community ever carried out in Asia.

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Cassettes, cds and magazine articles about the frogs of Coorg have been distributed to many people in the area, particularly on coffee estates where thoughtful management can allow many frog species to survive that would otherwise be driven extinct.




 
 

 

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The mampam website has been running for 25 years and aims to provide full details of projects at no charge. All out of print books and multimedia guides are provided here and full image archives are being developed for each project. This will complete the website's mission.

 

 
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The Butaan Project
The Butaan Project - Foraging behaviour

butaan7.jpgWe use feces to investigate diet and activity areas of butaan. In total we have examined more than 1500 samples, possibly the largest ever collected for a single population of reptiles.  Butaan and their relatives are huge specialised frugivores, much bigger than any other specialised frugivorous animal in  the Philippines. They need a constant supply of fruit but lack the wings that allow other frugivores to forage in different forest fragments. Large and immobile, the butaan depends on a very narrow range of foods.

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