• Found in India
  • The purple frog was discovered in 2003 in the Western Ghats and was placed in its very own family (the Nasikabatrachidae) – which is the first new family of frogs to be described since 1926.
  • Its closest living relatives are the Seychelles frogs (the Sooglossidae family). The purple frog shared a common ancestor with these frogs over 120 million years ago. These two families have since become geographically separated by continental drift over the course of 65 million years.
  • Spends the majority of its life 1.3-3.7m underground, only surfacing the breed in the rainy season.
  • Its reclusive lifestyle has meant that it escaped earlier detection by biologists.
  • The main threat to the purple frog is believed to be ongoing habitat disturbance from forest loss for coffee, cardamom, ginger and other species for cultivation.
  • The declining quality of the purple frog’s habitat, coupled with the fact it is found in fewer than five locations, has led to this species being classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species.
Conservation Required
  • Funding an EDGE Fellow to collect more data on the population ecology, behaviour and threats to this species because so little is currently known – this information can then be used to create a Conservation Action Plan.
  • Habitat conservation.

Proposed Actions

EDGE would like to fund an aspiring conservationist to find out more about the purple frog, in order to create a Conservation Action Plan for this recently discovered species.

The purple frog was only discovered in 2003 in the Western Ghats of India, and was placed into its own family – the Nasikabatrachidae – the first new family of frogs to be described since 1926. This frog spends most of its time buried up to three and a half metres underground, only surfacing to breed in the rainy season.  It is probably this reclusive lifestyle which as meant that the species remained undiscovered for so long.

Habitat loss and degradation is known to be causing declines in a number of species from the Western Ghats, a large area of which has been deforested for agricultural plantations. The declining habitat quality and presence of the purple frog in fewer than five locations has lead to the classification of this species as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

EDGE aims to contribute information to a Conservation Action Plan for the purple frog, by funding an EDGE Fellow to carry out further research on the species, in particular its range, population status and trends, behaviour and threats. This information can be used to prioritise the protection of the most important areas of habitat for the species, action which will be supported by the EDGE programme.

More Focal Amphibian species

Take Action

Associated Blog Posts
24th Nov 14
The purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is currently listed as the world’s 4th most Evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered amphibian spec...  Read

25th Jul 11
This frog in not only extraordinary in its appearance but also in the way it lives.  Unlike most frogs the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) spends...  Read

27th May 10
The Purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is a flagship species for conservation in India. Its distribution is restricted to two states in peninsular In...  Read

5th May 09
Ashish Thomas, our first amphibian EDGE Fellow, tells you here a bit more about his chosen species and what he is doing towards its conservation. The Ind...  Read

7th Jan 09
One of our focal EDGE amphibians – the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) – has been caught on camera for the first time by EDGE-affiliated resea...  Read