Micrixalus fuscus
Kalakkad Dancing Frog, Brown Tropical Frog, Dusky Torrent Frog
family: Micrixalidae

© 2012 Zeeshan Mirza (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Near Threatened (NT)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Micrixalus fuscus has a SVL of 32 mm. The dorsum and venter has smooth skin. M. fuscus has a pointed, prominent snout that is longer than the orbital diameter. The canthus rostralis is angular and this species has a flat loreal region that is vertical. The nostril is halfway between the eye and the snout tip. It has a glandular lateral fold and a fold from the eye to the shoulder. The tympanum is small and indistinct. The fingers are not webbed, but the toes are completely webbed. Subarticular tubercles are small and it has a small inner metatarsal tubercle. (Boulenger 1882).

Diagnosis: It is similar to M. phyllophilus, but can be distinguished by the absence of a papilla in the middle of the tongue and does not have bright pink coloration on the ventral sides of the thighs and belly as does M. phyllophilus (Boulenger 1882).

Coloration: M. fuscus has a light tan to dark reddish brown to nearly black dorsum with black marbling or spotting (Inger 1984). The flanks are darker. The venter is yellow-tan that can have brown reticulations (Boulenger 1882; Inger 1984). The throat may also be reticulated A white, black or tannish thin dorsolateral fold is present and a light thigh stripe runs from the anus to the inside of the knee. A deep yellow thigh stripe is also present. (Inger 1984). Limbs have cross-barring patterns. The posterior part of the thigh is dark brown with a light stripe down the middle (Boulenger 1882). Females have bright yellow coloration in the groin and on the anterior of the thigh. This yellow is less developed in males The dorsal sides of the feet are bluish-grey (Inger 1984).

Variation: Males are differentiated by large, cream-coloured nuptial pads and the presence of two internal vocal sacs with openings (Boulenger 1882; Inger 1984). Individuals vary widely in color pattern and amount of webbing on the feet. Webbing between the toes varies from three quarters to complete webbing (Inger 1984).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: India


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
This species is endemic to southern Western Ghats of India (Biju et al. 2012).

M. fuscus inhabits areas in streams, streambanks, dead leaves, bare soil and some areas away from streams in evergreen forest and moist deciduous or moist semi-evergreen forest. It can also occur in secondary growth between 70 to 1000 m in elevation (Biju et al. 2012; Inger 1984).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
M. fuscus is a diurnal frog. Males vocalize from 6 AM in the morning to 6 PM. Vocalizations are made from rocks and are characterized by a “krrik…krik” and followed by a “kichi…kichi…kichik” sound. Varying patterns in its repertoire are interspersed in the calls. A disturbed individual will produce a weak squeak (Vasudevan 2001).

This species uses “foot flagging” behavior in which the hind limb is brought behind the body and folded. It alternates legs for this display (Vasudevan 2001).

Males compete with each other by chasing away nearby callers and leaping onto the intruders' rocks (Vasudevan 2001).

Individuals have been found mating in a seepage area with flowing water. The eggs found were large and transparent (Inger 1984).

Trends and Threats
M. fuscus is threatened by habitat destruction. Forests of its habitat are converted for agricultural purposes (coffee and tea plantations). Overharvesting of wood, dam construction and infrastructure development are also threats to this species (Biju et al. 2004).

This species is protected by national legislation in several protected areas (Biju et al. 2004).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing

This species is considered a species complex of which M. herrei may be included (Biju et al. 2004).


Boulenger, G.A. (1882). Catalogue of the Batrachia Salientia s. Ecaudata in the Collection of the British Museum, Ed. 2. Taylor and Francis, London.

Frost, D. (2011). Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.5.

Inger, R. F., Shaffer, H. B., Koshy, M., and Bakde, R. (1984). ''A report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from the Ponmudi, Kerala, South India. Part 1.'' Journal of Bombay Natural History Society , 81(2), 406-427.

S.D. Biju, Sushil Dutta, Vasudevan Vasudevan, S.P. Vijayakumar, M.S. Ravichandran. Micrixalus fuscus. IUCN (2004). 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 May 2012.

Vasudevan, Karthikeyan (2001). ''A foot flagging frog from the Western Ghats.'' Cobra (Chennai), 44 , 25-29.

Written by Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang (mz.aerochild AT, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2012-05-27
Edited by Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang (2012-05-27)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Micrixalus fuscus: Kalakkad Dancing Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 23, 2020.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Sep 2020.

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