English Name : Common Indian Tree frog
Scientific Name : Polypedates maculatus
Tamil Name: Theirai
Description: A slender medium sized frog with a single vocal sac. The body is brownish, grayish, whitish or yellowish darker above with darker spots. The skin is smooth above and granulated on the belly and under the thighs; a fold extends from the eye to the shoulder. Males have internal vocal sacs. The species has the ability to change its colour with the surroundings. The snout is pointed with a rounded tip. The fingers are barely webbed, and the toes are two-thirds webbed. The disks of fingers and toes are moderately developed
Distribution and status : It is widespread throughout Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as western and southern Bangladesh to Chittagong District. This common and adaptable frog is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.
Habitat: They may use day roosts regularly. Enters houses and can be found in the bathrooms sometimes. This is an urban tree frog. It also occurs within secondary forests and Western Ghats upto 2000 ASL.
Habits: The Common tree frog is one of the common Amphibian in India. It takes shelter during the day time within cupboards, between books, inside shoes, vases and artifacts that keep it cool during the summer months. They wipe themselves with skin secretions consisting of mucus and lipids that help in reducing moisture loss. When temperatures are higher, they secrete from the skin (“sweat”), pant, and adopt lighter skin colors. Sometimes they leave in the night to hunt for prey and return back in the morning. This tree frog also takes shelter within crevices on rocks, between leaves,under bark on trees and exposed on tree trunks.
Food: Tree frogs are mostly nocturnal, but they may hunt during daytime, if they feel really hungry. Though their diet may slightly vary with different species and geographic locations, in general, tree frogs are carnivorous in nature. Their diet consists of insects, worms, and small invertebrates.
Life cycle: Breeds during the monsoon months. Males call out from the nearest bush to attract females. They both prepare a foam nest that overhangs the water. The tadpoles that emerge fall into the water to metamorphize as adults. They feed on planktons and diatoms.
Role in the environment: It is sometimes seen in city gardens and urban locale. It could be considered an important component in urban biodiversity. There is a popular belief in South India that when a frog jumps on a child they will get polio.
Photo source: Dr. J. Subramanean