Foot Flagger - Dancing frogs of WesternGhats

Year 2014 news of discovery of 14 new species of dancing frogs in Western Ghats appeared in internet forum. I was very curious to know what dancing frogs actually are. Last year I noticed first time 2 species in Honey valley, Coorg and then I realize I had seen these species previous year also but failed to get ID.  Since few year back Mr Gururaja has published book on Frogs of Western Ghats, I can’t tell how much life has become easy now, when it comes to ID’s of frog.  Year 2015 I was busy observing & documenting 2 other beautiful endemic species Torrent toad & Rh. Lateralis, but this year I was determined to spend time with these tiny little dancing frog which  belong to family Micrixalus and we have about 40 species of these very small 2-3cm long ground frogs.


You will make out from some photographs that unless you are really looking for them its next to impossible to see them. They are very tinny and very well camouflaged to its surrounding. I have seen 1 species at Valparai and 2 species at Honey valley & 2 at KCRE Agumbe.



Micrixalus elegencs, Very small cm frog, This species seems to rediscovery couple of year bakc after gap of 74 yrs. At first it seems color less but if you see through macro lens, it got beautiful colors and patterns, either on small rock in stream or on ground along stream


Micrixalus sexicola: About 3cm frog, you will find them on larger rock inside stream. At first they look brownish-black dull frog, but through macro lens you will get beautiful dotted pattern on their body.


Micrixalus nelliampathy: along stream at Valparai, TN

Good thing about these frog are they are active in day time, which very few frogs are, so photography is somewhat easier compared to most nocturnal frogs. If you walk around forest stream which are ankle to knee deep, you sure to hear their low but sharp calls.  But if you really want to watch their foot flagging behavior, then you need lots of patience. Once you observe them then you settles down wait patiently for about ½- 1 hr., they will ignore you after that. Though I have seen them throughout monsoon season, but noticed they are very active post monsoon in last week of August or 1st week of September. I have seen them flagging foot, when either female is around or another male approaches near his rock. But if you have female around and more then 2 males near by you sure to see them doing foot flagging. They might be either side of stream or some time on same pebble when they try to impress female or push off other male intruder


Micrixalus kottgeharensis : Pair in Amplexus, you can make out how well they merged with habitat


Micrixalus niluvasei : Pair in Amplexus, you can make out how well they merged with habitat

Locations: At honey valley  Chingara waterfall down stream & another stream which flows through main path and also at KCRE Agumbe is place where I spend time observing these beauties. 


Two male (Mi. kottigeharensis) are competing with each other, though its hard to spot, but you can observe female is in middle of frame half submersed in water, watching show put up by males.





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+1 #1 Badri 2016-10-09 07:10
Super post!

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