Kalinga Frog | UPSC

Kalinga Frog | UPSC


Kalinga frog in Western Ghats shows physical differences from Eastern Ghats counterpart

      WHY IN NEWS:

Scientists claim the morphological phenotypic plasticity found in the Kalinga cricket frog is first such in India

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Biodiversity : Flora and Fauna


For PRELIMS MPP feature is very important ! Go through it with a pen , paper and your Prelims book.

For MAINS nothing much here .


Indian scientists have reported a first-of-its-kind discovery of morphological phenotypic plasticity (MPP) in the Kalinga cricket frog.



  • The Kalinga cricket frog is one of the largest of its group and grows up to 6.5 cm,whereas the other has an average size of 2 cm.

Cricket frogs are indicators of healthy ecosystem and live in wide habitat ranges in agricultural fields, streams, swamps and wetlands.

  • Kalinga frog is a semi-aquatic frog that actively breeds in the monsoon.

Kalinga Frog | UPSC

Photo Source : DownToEarth : The Kalinga frog of the Eastern Ghats. 

  • MPP is the ability of an organism to show drastic morphological (physical features) variations in response to natural environmental variations or stimuli.
  • The frog species was identified not long ago. Its documentation was done in 2018 and reported from the Eastern Ghats.


  • It was thought to be endemic to the hill ranges of the Eastern Ghats.

In the Eastern Ghats, the species is found on the higher-elevation hill ranges of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh

  • It also indicated the frog species being endemic to the Eastern Ghats.
  • The frog from the Eastern Ghats is phenotypically different when compared with the population in Eastern Ghats.


  • Frogs are known to exhibit varied reproductive behaviours by adopting different modes and strategies for successful survival.

The behavioural studies of many anuran (frog or toad) species let us study about breeding sites, courtship patterns and ecological adaptations. 

  • It was only genetic analysis that helped prove that physically different-looking frogs were the same.


  • The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats are the two different biogeographic zones, with unique histories.
  • While the Western Ghats are considered as a biodiversity hotspot, eastern its counterpart is not.

Geologically, the Western Ghats are ancient, having Gondwanaland relict forests in the south, while the formation of the Eastern Ghats is recent.

  • Both landscapes have unique ecosystems, with special microclimates and microhabitats .


  • Any classical taxonomist would consider these two populations as two different species on the basis of morphological characters alone ! -Researchers .
  • Colour variations across the different populations of the same species were quite common.

Morphometric differences show up in terms of head shape and size. 

  • The number and size of the fingers vary from two to four, which are comparatively larger.
  • The toe sizes were observed to be smaller in the frog species found in the Western Ghats.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • The scientists said the recent findings were certainly not a habitat expansion and there was more information waiting to be found.

Scientists are still understanding the possibilities of splitting two populations

  • The next questions to ask are how this little genetic divergence is leading to such contrasting morphological adaptations in these species.
     SOURCES:DownToEarth | Kalinga Frog | UPSC

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