Encounter: Blue-eyed Bush Frog

On a dark, wet monsoon night in Agumbe we met the very kissable blue-eyed prince of frogs
A Blue-eyed Bush Frog vocalising with its throat sac puffed out
If the name Philautus neelanethrus does not suggest a blue-blooded prince to you, an audience with the aforesaid certainly will, assuming that you will be granted one. The Blue-eyed Bush Frog inhabits the deep, dense evergreen rainforests of the Western Ghats and was described to science as recently as 2007 from the Sharavathi Valley. 

This diminutive frog, less than 3 cm long, acquires a yellow colouration during the breeding season (though in the picture it appears redder) and has a beautiful golden eye with a horizontal pupil, completely encircled by an iridescent blue ring. It owes its name to this lovely blue eye-ring. It is usually found on mid-height bushes perched on leaves. In the non-breeding season, its colour is creamy.

Our rendezvous with the blue-eyed prince occurred on a wet, rainy night at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station. We heard the call -- one among many enigmatic mating croaks that filled up the inky monsoon night: treek tink-tink-tink. Once located, like a true celebrity, it seemed uncomfortable with the attention and stopped calling. 

After a short break, it called again and we scrambled for a view. I was lucky to get this one shot of the prince before being banished from his august presence. 

Text and photo by Sahastrarashmi 
Excellent pictures of this frog can be viewed at AMOGHAVARSHA and Sharath’s websites.

This post is the first of our Agumbe Diaries. Look out for more about monsoon in the rainforest.