Colorful Calling Bullfrogs in India - Observation of the Week, 12/29/20

Our Observation of the Week is this pair of Indus Valley Bullfrogs (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus), seen in India by @vishalmistry!

“I am lucky that I have been born in an area bestowed with abundant natural beauty and wildlife diversity,” says Vishal Mistry, who hails from the Indian state of Gujarat. As a child he spent many days catching lizards and frogs, as well as looking for crocodile burrows and saving snakes and lizards. “I love observing nature, the species, the landscape, everything. 

Having a camera also made the task of capturing such natural beautiful moments easy and exciting. Initially I would just record photographs. However, the fascination with nature grew up, and I started identifying the species, to make a directory of species I encountered and share my observations.

In 2007, Vishal began working with the Voluntary Nature Conservancy (VNC), where he monitored mugger crocodiles in Gujarat and assessed the population and habitat status of the Indian wolf in the Kutch region. “This stint prepared me well and equipped me with the necessary training in wildlife research conservation,” he says, and currently still works with VNC,

where I am engaged in monitoring crocodile population, understanding human-crocodile relations and assisting in developing a program to build a community based crocodile monitoring program and involve the local community in conservation. I believe awareness is the best conservation strategy and spend a lot of time developing and conducting nature awareness and educational programs in school and colleges.

While visiting a nearby pond, Vishal came across some Indus Valley bullfrogs and made a note to return during the monsoon, when they were breeding. “This species is not so great in colours during other times of the year,” he says, “but during the monsoon, that’s when they breed and they attain greater size and the males develop the bright lemon yellow colour. That’s the time when they look like a bridegroom so eager to get married.” He found a group of about 25-30 individuals and photographed this pair of males calling for mates. 

Vishal tells me 

this species is mostly solitary and nocturnal in nature. They inhabit holes and bushes near permanent water sources. They do not stay in water for a long time, however, and spend most of their time hiding and feeding in the surrounding vegetation, where they catch anything they can and feed on it. This includes even small snakes and rodents.

He's been a long time eBirder, but Vishal (above) joined iNat only a few months ago after VNC created the Monitoring Butterflies in Gujarat project as part of Big Butterfly Month. “Sitting at home, that is not me. I am an outdoor person,” he says. 

Moreover, I love recording nature. This is something that is core to my heart. So, I have tonnes of pictures of numerous species I have encountered in my region. I did not know what to do with other groups of wildlife, other than birds. Nevertheless, my introduction to iNaturalist through the butterfly project opened up a new avenue for me, where I can contribute the information of other species as well. In addition, this app gives me information on the species found in my region that I have not seen. This makes my trips and exploration easy. I have been using iNaturalist ever since as an invaluable tool on the field. Knowing that people having proper training to contribute to the conservation of wild species will use my data is a consolation to my heart.

(Some quotes have been lightly edited for clarity)

- Vishal has uploaded several wildlife videos to his YouTube channel.

- In case you wanted to know what a group of calling Indus Valley bullfrogs look and sound like...

Posted by tiwane tiwane, December 29, 2020 19:19


Great story - well done Vishal

Posted by nyoni-pete almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Fabulous stuff! Thank you!

Posted by susanhewitt almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Welcome to iNat, Vishal! Great shots :)

Posted by trh_blue almost 2 years ago (Flag)

A great shot of a fabulous species! Really beautiful.

Posted by driftlessroots almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Very cool. Never heard of this beautiful frog species.

Posted by jnstuart almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Great story; beautiful photo; good job @vishalmistry!

Posted by seaheart88 almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Brilliant photo, and I love reading about your projects, Vishal! I’m looking forward to seeing more of your observations.

Posted by lisa_bennett almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Fantastic. Wondering if in the Madagascar population the males also turn yellow

Posted by langlands almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Love frogs! Love your photo : )

Posted by claudia_ma over 1 year ago (Flag)

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