This species is known from at least five highland localities (1,900 to 2,630 m asl) in the Nilgiri hills, Tamil Nadu District, Tamil Nadu, India. It is believed to be restricted to high altitudes in the Western Ghats of India (Biju et al. 2008).
Habitat and Ecology
A terrestrial species, it seems to be restricted to disturbed evergreen sholas (isolated montane forest patches)(Biju et al. 2008). Individuals were always found in the direct proximity of mountain streams and close to the ground, e.g. leaf litter, rock patches, tall grass clumps and the undergrowth of shrub vegetation (Biju et al. 2008). Foam nests are suspended 3 m above the water surface and can contain around 208 eggs (Biju et al. 2008).
This species can be locally abundant, although it is not uniformly common throughout its range (S.D. Biju pers. comm. October 2009).
This species' forest habitat is subject to severe fragmentation due to the scale of agricultural, livestock farming and logging activities, and rural and/or urban development (S.D. Biju pers comm. October 2009).
It has been recorded from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, in Tamil Nadu. More surveys are required to better circumscribe its distribution and its population trends (S.D. Biju pers. comm. October 2009).
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, all individuals are in severely fragmented locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in the Western Ghats.
This taxon was recently reallocated to the new genus Ghatixalus and is considered to be the sister species of Ghatixalus asterops (Biju et al. 2008).
S.D. Biju, Sushil Dutta, Karthikeyan Vasudevan, Chelmala Srinivasulu, Ariadne Angulo 2010. Ghatixalus variabilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T59027A11872030. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T59027A11872030.en .Downloaded on 16 January 2019