Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sri Lanka Painted Frog


Meet the Sri Lanka Painted Frog aka. Sri Lanka Bull Frog Kaloula taprobanica (Parker, 1934), an amphibian endemic to Sri Lanka and South India. This frog is peculiar in that during drier times, it leads a subterranean life—at times being found 10–12 feet under! It comes out during wet weather for breeding, and I found the above individual on my lawn on 14 July, 2010. This day turned out to be rainy towards the evening, resulted by a monsoonal high.

On 17 July, another rainy day, I found another Sri Lanka Painted Frog—this time, would you believe, inside my house! Compared to the previous one, it was less-colourful, fatter, and full of attitude; it was probably a female (based on at least two of those attributes).


The species name: taprobanica refers to taprobane—how Sri Lanka was known to Greeks and Romans since pre-Christian times. Taprobane had derived from the local name that was in use in the past: Thambapanni (aka. Thambrapanni), which means "copper-coloured palms". The legend has it that the palms of the hands of the ancient settlers, who arrived in Lanka from northern India in the 6th century B.C., became copper coloured when they sat on the shore following landfall. (No doubt their backsides too would have turned the same colour, but historians make no such referrence.) Thereon, the newfound land of those ancient settlers came to be known as Thambapanni. As mentioned above, it later became known as Taprobane for people in the West, who came here in search of gems, spices, and elephants—the latter were famously used for wars of Alexander the Great. (Onesicritus, a historical writer who accompanied the latter, claimed that elephants from Taprobane were larger and more pugnacious than those of India.)

Guiding some visitors from USA, I first visited the general area of the aforementioned legendary site of landfall in 2004. One such site: Kudremalai, situated bordering the Indian ocean inside the massive Wilpattu National Park, to my surprise, had rusty coloured soil all over, evidently following volcanic geological events in the past. Here's how the soil looked—with a Fan-throated Lizard Sitana ponticeriana as eye candy.

12 comments:

Kirigalpoththa said...

Copper colored lizard on copper colored sand. Nice!

I'm quite eager to know how two opposites ends of Sri Lanka got similar colored soil..Kudiramale side (North West) and Minihagalkanda (South East)

Chavie said...

Hahaha, your comment about the female Painted frog is bound to get some angry reactions from the ladies. ;) Lovely pictures as always, and nicely written post Amila. Didn't know that you were a history buff too! :D

flowergirl said...

Are you sure its female?! - looks male to me, see that jowl and the beady stare - very Churchill-like!!

The taprobane tidbit was interesting - I didn't know.

OK, OK I will look out for you, and how do I know your school colours?!

Gallicissa said...

Hi K,
Thanks!
Probably due to both those sites having a similar geological past?

Hi Chavie,
Thank you!
I stand by the attributes mentioned in that comment. ;)

History buff? Very much so.
Quite often nature, culture and history are intertwined in this country, and it is important to know such stuff when you are a tour guide.

Hi flowergirl,
Haha...now why am I not surprised!
My school colours: Blue, White and Gold! Just getting ready to leave...

santhoshi said...

its male the grey and brown colour and the pot belly... :P

Love the copper colour sand.

magerata said...

As usual, I had my lesson :). Very nice introduction to the frog(s). The sand looks very ilmenite rich and even though usually black or steel gray, reflection from ilmenite could be in coppery color. I knew that the east coast is very rich in this mineral but it is news to me that it also exist in the western coast. Again I am guessing.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Santhoshi,
Haha..it's wee bit pot-bellied alright. :P

That soil provides a lovely backdrop for macro photography.

Hi Magerata,
I googled "ilmanite deposits Sri Lanka", and found this link of page no.255 of a book titled Surface mining by B.A. Kennedy and Bruce A Kennedy. It says: "...Sri Lanka contains extensive beach deposits of titanium-bearing sands at Pulmoddai,..., Kudremalai point,..."

Of the Pulmoddai deposits it says: "...contains about 80% ilmenite and rutile."

So I think you may be right!
And thank you for the lesson! :)

No wonder why Americans are so nosy about our political matters! :P

Amila Kanchana said...

Beautiful pics,interesting info,nice post!

Me-shak said...

Lovely picture Amila. And you got a frog inside your house :D

And sorry about not commenting for a while. was crazy busy during the past few weeks.

Cheers!

Stu said...

Man those frogs are ugly, only a mother frog could love them.......

Gallicissa said...

Hi Amila,
Thank you!

Hi Shak,
Thank you, and no worries!

Hi Stu,
Haha...
Sounds like you are not a big fan of frogs. :D

Gallicissa said...

Stu,
Have a butchers:
Ugly Animals – Slide Show!

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