Matchbox 02: Purple Frog

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Ancient myths speak of Maha-Bali, a venerable king of the underworld (Patala). The legend of his annual emergence to visit his land-dwelling people is still celebrated in Kerala as the festival of Onam.

Emerging only once a year during the monsoon season, this burrowing frog is known locally as പാതാളത്തവള (pātāḷattavaḷa, the underworld one.) Despite only being discovered in 2003, it has outlived the dinosaurs. Its closest relative in Seychelles makes it living evidence that India was once a part of Africa.

Endemic to the Western Ghats of India (specifically Kerala and Tamil Nadu), it can be found belowground near the streams of cardamom, coffee and rubber plantations, and evergreen / semi-evergreen forests.

Scientific Name: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
Local Name (Dialect) : പാതാളത്തവള / pātāḷattavaḷa (Malayalam)
Location: India