N. deccanensis is a small frog with an SVL of 22.1 mm (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007). The venter has smooth skin. The skin on the snout is shagreened to granular. Glandular ridges are present on the sides of the head, the dorsum and flanks (Biju et all. 2011). Its body is short, stout, and robust; head broader than long, depressed; snout rounded, sloping forward in lateral view; snout with a fold starting from snout tip to above the level of nares; nares oval, positioned laterally than dorsally, nearer to orbit of eye than to snout tip; eyes large; upper eyelids narrow, granular, may have glandular warts and with small irregular transverse folds, lower eyelid covering half of the eye; skin not co-ossified to the bony elements of the cranium; interorbital space wider, canthus rostralis absent; loreal region sloping, obtuse to flared (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007; Biju et al. 2011). The maxillary teeth are present; a weak ‘W’ shaped symphysial knob on anterior edge of mandible; tongue bifid apically without a papilla; vomerine ridges small, teeth indistinct; contracted pupil rhomboidal; a ridge extends from upper lip along the midline of snout tip to the region between the nares; a small horizontal fold in the interorbital space; supratympanic fold faint and a distinct small fold from posterior corner of eye to angle of jaw; tympanum indistinct and a small fold from posterior corner of eye to angle of jaw; dorsum, upper surface of limbs with small irregular transverse longitudinal folds (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007). The forearm is shorter than the hand and stout (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007; Biju et al. 2011). The fingers are short and slender, lack webs. The tips of the fingers have weakly developed discs that don’t have grooves. Prominent subarticular tubercles are present and are rounded. A rounded palmar tubercle is also prominent and present (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007; Biju et al. 2011). Hind limbs relatively short and stout, failing to overlap when folded at right angles to axis of the body; toes slender, long; webbing 1/4th of toe base, web reaching penultimate subarticular tubercle of 3rd toe, webbing formula I 2–2 II 1 3/4–2 III 1 1/2–2 IV 2–1 V; toe tips dilated into minute discs without circum-marginal groves; longitudinal dorsal grooves present on discs; subarticular tubercles moderate, rounded numbering one on first, second and fifth toes; two on third and three on fourth toe; small inner metatarsal tubercle; outer metatarsal tubercle absent; tarsal fold absent. Femoral gland present, covering much of the under surface of thighs; adult males can be separated from juveniles and adult females by their bilaterally symmetrical, elongated femoral glands on the inner side of thighs (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007).
Nyctibatrachus deccanensis is distinguished from other closely related species by the combination of several characters: a small male adult size, weakly developed finger and toe discs, an absent groove in the third finger disc, a dorso-terminal groove present in the fourth toe, cover bifurcate distally, glandular ridges on the dorsum, a well developed ridge present on the lip and over the tip of the snout that bifurcates between the nostrils, forming an inverted “Y” and finally webbing present that reaches the second subarticular tubercle on both sides of the fourth toe (Biju et al. 2011).
Color in life: Dorsum uniform brown or black with metallic green dots over the back on the glandular corrugations; rhomboidal pupil black, with golden yellow sclera, venter deep orange or yellow except for lips, palm and foot, which are brown (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007; Biju et al. 2011).
Color in preservative: Dorsum uniform chocolate brown; throat, light orange with brown lips; ventrally uniform light orange, except for palm and foot which are chocolate brown with the continuation of the dorsum color; no barring on hind and fore limbs; tongue unpigmented (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: India
N. deccanensis is found in southern Western Ghats at high elevations. It is endemic to ‘Anamallaye’ and Grass Hills in Tamil Nadu State, and mountains of the Kerala State at an elevation of 500-2,000 m (Biju et al. 2004; Biju et al. 2011).
The species is found in shallow streams in forests, and wet moss-covered rocks near water (Biju et al. 2011).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The life history is not known except for a single sighting of an imago (young one with tail). This species is abundant in its habitat, found alongside the water bodies of shola patches (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007).
Trends and Threats
The threat is the loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation due to tea and timber plantations, and exploitation for timber and wood (Biju et al. 2004).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Synonymous with N. sholai, and originally named Rana pygmaeus (Biju et al. 2011)
Etymology of N. sholai was based on the "Shola" habitat type where the frogs were found (Radhakrishnan et al. 2007).
Similar species are N. anamallaiensis, N. beddomii, N. kempholeyensis, N. minimus, N. minor and N. shiradi (Biju et al. 2011)
Biju, S. D., Sushil Dutta, M.S. Ravichandran 2004. Nyctibatrachus deccanensis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 29 May 2012.
Biju, S.D., Van Bocxlaer, I., Mahony, S., Dinesh, K.P., Radhakrishnan, C., Zachariah, A., Giri, V., and Bossuyt, F. (2011). ''A taxonomic review of the Night Frog genus Nyctibatrachus Boulenger, 1882 in the Western Ghats, India (Anura: Nyctibatrachidae) with description of twelve new species.'' Zootaxa, 3029, 1-96.
Radhakrishnan, C., Dinesh, K.P. and Ravichandran, M.S. (2007). ''A new species of Nyctibatrachus Boulenger (Amphibia: Anura: Nyctibatrachidae) from the Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India.'' Zootaxa, 1595, 31-41.
Written by K.P. Dinesh (dineshcafe AT gmail.com), Western Ghats Field Research Station (WGFRS), Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Calicut
First submitted 2012-04-24
Edited by Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang, Michelle Koo, and Ann T. Chang (2013-01-29)
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