AmphibiaWeb - Uperodon globulosus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Uperodon globulosus (Günther, 1864)
family: Microhylidae
subfamily: Microhylinae
genus: Uperodon

© 2017 Chaitanya Shukla (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status

Information not available.

Regional Status

information not available.



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Uperodon globulosus is identified by its balloon shape, which is partly due to its lungs that have the capacity to inflate past the backbone level. Uperodon globulosus is distinguished from the geographically similar U. systoma by its plain brown/grey color on top and solid white venter. U. systoma on the other hand, has a marbled dorsum with colors ranging from olive or pink with dark brown and a white venter. U. systoma also has a mottled brown throat (Daniel 2002).

Description: Adult males measure about 65 mm and females, 84 mm. In general, the dorsum is smooth skinned; the skin on the venter is wrinkled. The species has a small head, a rounded snout, and “beady” eyes. The tympanum is indistinct. U. globulosus has an interorbital width between its eyes that is 2.5-3 times larger than the width of the upper eyelid (Daniel 2002). An occipital fold is present and there is an indistinct fold from the eye to the shoulder. This fossorial species has short hindlimbs and metatarsal tubercles that are used as shovels for digging. The tibio-tarsal articulation does not reach the shoulder. The toes have a small amount of webbing. The fingers are distinct. The first finger is shorter than the second, which is longer than the fourth (Parker 1934; Daniel 2002).

Coloration: In adults, Uperodon globulosus is usually solid brown/grey dorsally and white ventrally, but during breeding season, the throat is spotted with yellow and black (Daniel 2002).

Tadpoles have an olive-brown coloration on the dorsum, with a whitish colored tail and dark blotchy longitudinal stripes. Its flanks and venter are both spotted with dark coloration (Daniel 2002).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Today, the realized range of U. globulosus has expanded from southern Nepal and northeastern India (Assam, Arunachal Pradaesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Oirssa) to Gujarat, India and adjacent to Bangladesh, southwest to Karnataka and Kerala (Choudhury et al. 1999; Frost 2011). U. globulosus is also found on the entire peninsula coast and inland range of India as well as the northeast coast and slightly inland (Dutta et al. 2004).

U. globulosus is found in forest, inland wetland, and both artificial terrestrial and aquatic areas below 600 m in elevation (Dutta et al. 2004). Breeding occurs in very restricted localities in shallow ponds and marshes and has been found in Pune, in the Marashtra State (Padhye and Ghate 2002). Tadpoles were collected from Pashan-pune, but adults were absent at time of collection (Dutta et al. 2004; Padhye and Ghate 2002).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This species is fossorial, meaning it burrows into the nests for their main food: termites and ground ants. Thus it has restricted movement. Burrowing is accomplished by using metatarsal tubercles on their hind legs, in a sideways motion. Presence of this frog is marked by a small opening in clay-like soil as a possible result of its burrowing. U. globulosus requires damp soil and thus may live at unexpected depths during dry months. A study has demonstrated U. globulosus is capable of surviving at least 13 months without food at appropriate depths. This species tends to hop or walk slowly on land and float on water, as it is a poor swimmer. It can secrete a sticky substance from its skin when kept above the soil (Daniel 2002).

The breeding season is marked by the beginning of the monsoon season in western India. Calls resemble a grunting “oink” that assists females in mate search. According to current research, when ready to breed, U. globulosus will breed in any body of standing water, including ephemeral pools that don’t last more than a few days (Daniel 2002). Females then lay small eggs in copious amounts (Parker 1934).

The tadpole stage is an active swimmer. It is microphagous, and therefore depends on particles in the water as their main food source (Daniel 2002).

Trends and Threats
U. globulosus was once thought to be a rare species but has been found in a wider range (Daniel 2002). Currently, the species has stable populations that are low concern, although major threats include urbanization and agrochemical pollution of waterbodies (Dutta et al. 2004).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants

U. globulosus was first described by Günther (1864)(Frost 2011).

The karyotype is as follows: 2n=26 (Chakrabarti 1978).


Chakrabarti, S. (1978). ''Somatic chromosomes of Indian burrowing toad, Uperodon globulosum (Günther) (Anura; Amphibia).'' Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 6(35), 743-44.

Choudhury, P., Baruah, M. and Sengupta, S. (1999). ''Range extension in Uperodon globulosus (Gunter, 1864) in Assam.'' Journal of the Bombay Natural History, (96), 157.

Daniel, J. C. (2002). The Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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

Frost, D. R. (1985). Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas.

Padhye, A. and Ghate, H. (2002). ''An overview of amphibian fauna of Maharashtra State.'' ZOO's Print Journal, (17), 735-740.

Parker, H.W. (1934). A Monograph of the Frogs of the Family Microhylidae. British Museum, London.

Originally submitted by: Gavin Lee, Lisa Knapp, and Jo Odias (first posted 2011-04-21)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang (2018-10-08)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Uperodon globulosus <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 May 2024.

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