Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Amphibian tracking

Did you know that different frog species can be found in a variety of habitats – from the depths of the rainforest to home garden’s in the city. The common shrub frog is an endemic species (existing only in Sri Lanka) spread across a variety of habitats in the wet zone, southwest of the island. Why not try tracking and recording this and other frog species in your area? Here are some key indicators to help you identify different frog species...

Calls: Frogs communicate with one another through calling. No two frogs have the same call or use the same sound frequency. The common shrub frog makes a rapid “krike krike krike” sounding call that can be heard in the evenings after 6pm.

Habitats: Different frogs thrive best in different habitats. Some frogs are exclusive to only one type of habitat whereas others can be found in many. The common shrub frog can be identified in many habitat types including tea plantations, marshland, course grasses, bamboo, secondary forest and even your home garden.

Different types of frog can be found in the same habitat but at different heights. Often the frog’s appearance can give some indication as to where it lives as they camouflage themselves to their environment to avoid predators. Frogs that live on tree bark for example are usually brown coloured, often with rough looking skin that imitates the texture of the bark! Look out for the brown/grey coloured common shrub frog in habitats 0.5m – 2m above floor level.

Did you know?
There are 5,264 species of frogs and toads worldwide. Sri Lanka is home to 2% of the world population with 103 species existing here, 87 of which are endemic meaning they exist only in Sri Lanka.

Let’s think...
• You may not realise how important a healthy frog population is but look at it like this...As a feeder mostly on insects frogs play an important role in controlling insect numbers. They are essential in tackling insect spread diseases for example dengue fever! If we fail to protect out native frog species we are, if nothing else, doing ourselves no favours.

» Find out how else you can help to protect Sri Lanka's endangered species

Illustration by Asia Hewapathirana