Friday, January 6, 2017

Stuart's shrub frog ( Pseudophilautus stuarti)

Color of this one has been changed to match with the leaf litter.
English: Stuart's shrub frog
Binomial: Pseudophilautus stuarti
Sinhala: ස්ටුවර්ට්ගේ පඳුරු මැඩියා

Philautus stuarti is an endemic species of amphibian restricted to the knuckles region of Sri Lanka. This species was first described from the Coberts Gap region of knuckles by Dr. Meegaskumbura and Mr. Kelum Manamendra-Archchi in 2005. Elevation above the sea level of their observed location was about 1245m (Meegaskumbura and Manamendra-Arachchi 2005).

This species occurs in cloud forests with a good canopy cover. There is a similar species of amphibian which lives in the same knuckles region, namely Pseudophilautus mooreorum with the same body color. But P. stuarti can be easily distinguished from P. mooreorum by the prominent supratympanic fold and sharp cathal edge.
In addition to that, a population of shrub frogs named Pseudophilautus viridis which is morphologically more similar to P. stuarti occurs in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Phylogenetic analyses have revealed that these both species are genetically more related to each other. These two populations have been geographically separated by Mahaweli River valley that separates central hills from the knuckles mountain region(Meegaskumbura and Manamendra-Arachchi 2005). It is believed that this long term geographical separation has led to common ancestor species of frogs to divide into two geographical groups and then to evolve them as two new separate species namely P. viridis and P. stuarti.

Above photographed ones were also observed in the adjoining forest of Deanston Conservation Center in the knuckles region which is about 4 km away from the Coberts Gap. Observed location was at a height of about 1320m above the sea level. We can believe that the reminding conserved forest segments of knuckles region provides some protection for the species. But due to the limited distribution, it falls in to the category of ‘Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List.

Referances:
  • Meegaskumbura, Madhava, and Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi 2005 Description of Eight New Species of Shrub Frogs (Ranidae: Rhacophorinae: Philautus) from Sri Lanka. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 12: 305–338.
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm) 2015-4 - http://www.iucnredlist.org
  • Manamendra-Arachchi, K. & R. Pethiyagoda (2006): Sri Lankan amphibians [in Sinhala]. – WHT Publications, Colombo

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Half-webbed Pug-snout Frog (Uperodon palmatus)



English: Half-webbed Pug-snout Frog
Binomial: Uperodon palmatus/Ramanella palmata
Sinhala: පාකර්ගේ මොට හොඹු මැඩියා[Pakerge mota hombu madiya]

Half-webbed Pug-snout Frog is an endemic species of frogs restricted to the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Above photographed specimen was found close to a forest in Nuwaraeliya district and the elevation above sea level of the location was about 1894m. It is considered to be a rare species due to the limited distribution of the population. This frog is morphologically more similar to Uperodon obscurus. But the differences in webbed feet can be used to distinguish one form other.

Currently limited researches have been done related to the breeding biology of this species. According to those researches, Mr. Anaslem de Silva has reported that he has observed the tadpoles of this frog in phytothelms in Horton National Park (de Silva, 1999). In addition to that in a research done by Dr. Kanishka Ukuwela and others have reported that they have observed the tadpoles of this frog in rock pools close to a stream in Seetha Eliya(Ukuwela, Silva, and Athukorala 2010).

IUCN Red List status of this amphibian is 'Endangerd'. Agricultural activities, logging, forest dieback and droughts can be regarded as major threats for the species.

References:
  • De Silva, Anselm. 1999. The habitat preferences and the status of amphibians and reptiles at Horton Plains National Park. Report, Zoological Survey of Sri Lanka. National Science Foundation, Colombo. 67 pp.
  • Ukuwela, K. D. B., E. I. L. Silva, and N. P. Athukorala 2010 The Tadpole of Ramanella Palmata (Anura: Microhylidae), a Frog Endemic to Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 2628: 63–65.
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm) 2015-4 - http://www.iucnredlist.org
  • Manamendra-Arachchi, K. & R. Pethiyagoda (2006): Sri Lankan amphibians [in Sinhala]. – WHT Publications, Colombo

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Conchidium braccatum/Eria braccata


Binomial Name: Conchidium braccatum/Eria braccata

Conchidium braccatum is a wild orchid found in highlands of Sri Lanka and in India. Above photographs were taken at "Sri Pada" Peak Wilderness sanctuary in August.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chestnut Streaked Sailer (Neptis jumbah)


English: Chestnut Streaked Sailer
Binomial: Neptis jumbah

Neptis jumbah is a widely distributed butterfly in many countries in the world including Sri Lanka. It is more similar to Common Sailer. But it is less common compared to Common Sailer and mostly lives in well-wooded areas. Above photographed one was found at Makandawa rain forest in Kithulgala. IUCN Red List status of this butterfly is 'LC'.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bigfoot shrub frogs (Pseudophilautus macropus)


English: Bigfoot shrub frogs
Binomial: Pseudophilautus macropus
Sinhala: විශාල පාදැති පඳුරු මැඩියා [Wishala padathi panduru madiya]

Pseudophilautus macropus is an endemic species of shrug frogs restricted to the Knuckles region of Sri Lanka. This frog is normally found near the streams and on wet rock surfaces. It is morphologically more similar to Pseudophilautus sarasinorum. Due to the limited habitat distribution, it is in the category of  'Critically Endagered'.

References: 
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm) 2015-4 - http://www.iucnredlist.org 
  • Manamendra-Arachchi, K. & R. Pethiyagoda (2006): Sri Lankan amphibians [in Sinhala]. – WHT Publications, Colombo.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Podochilus malabaricus


Binomial: Podochilus malabaricus
Sinhala: මහා පද්ම[Maha patma]

Podochilus malabaricum is a wild orchid found in lowland wet and submontane zone. It is one of the four species of orchids found in Sri Lanka which belong to the genus Podochilus. It is morphologically more similar to the recently described species Podochilus warnagalensis (Wijewardana et al. 2016). The color of the flower is a mixture of white and pink and the plant has partially opened flowers even when fully bloomed. Above photographed one was found in "Sri Pada” Peak Wilderness sanctuary in April, 2015

References:
  • An Annotated Checklist of the Orchids of Sri Lanka, Samantha Suranjan Fernando and Paul Ormerod
  • Podochilus warnagalensis (Orchidaceae), a new species from Sri Lanka ISHARA H. WIJEWARDANA, THARAKA S. PRIYADARSHANA, NANDUN S. ARANGALA, ANUSHA G. ATTHANAGODA, RAKITHA T.B. SAMARAKOON, PANKAJ KUMAR

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Yebury's Elf (Tetrathemis yerburii)

English: Yebury's Elf
Binomial: Tetrathemis yerburii

Yebury's Elf is an endemic species of dragonflies found in Sri Lanka. Population of this dragonfly has been spread in the southwestern and eastern parts of the island (Sumanapala, Podduwage, and Dayananda 2016). Distinct metallic blue-green eyes are the easiest method of identifying it. Above photographed one was found while perched on a bush close to a pond in Sinharaja forest reserve in June, 2015. It is in the category of 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List. Destruction of primary and secondary forests can be the major threats for the species.

References:
  • Sumanapala, Amila P., Divanka R. Podduwage, and Salindra K. Dayananda 2016 New Locality Records and Range Extensions for Several Threatened Species of Odonata in Sri Lanka. Check List 12(4): 1921.
  • Dragonflies of Sri Lanka - Matjaž Bedjaniè, Karen Conniff, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm) 2015-4 - http://www.iucnredlist.org