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Raorchestes travancoricus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA ANURA RHACOPHORIDAE

Scientific Name: Raorchestes travancoricus
Species Authority: (Boulenger, 1891)
Synonym(s):
Ixalus travancoricus Boulenger, 1891
Philautus travancoricus (Boulenger, 1891)
Pseudophilautus travancoricus (Boulenger, 1891)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-10-29
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Biju, S.D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Pascual Cuadras, A. & Angulo, A.
Justification:
This species is listed as Endangered since its area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be 30 km², it is considered to occur in three threat-defined locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in the Western Ghats of India. Prior to 2015, this species was listed as extinct on The IUCN Red List (based on the assessment carried out in 2004). It is now reassessed as Endangered after its rediscovery in 2004 (after the previous assessment was published).
History:
2004 Extinct

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from the type locality of Bodanaikanur (i.e.'Bodinayakkanur, Travancore') in Tamil Nadu state, from Vandiperiyar and Vagaman, both in Kerala state, India (Biju and Bossuyt 2009), and from Periyar Tiger Reserve, nearly 40 km from Vagaman (S.D. Biju pers. comm. February 2014). Its range is presumed to be currently restricted to Vagaman, Vandiperiyar and Periyar Tiger Reserve as no further individuals have been located in Bodanaikanur after the holotype was found, in spite of extensive field surveys of the area, so it is presumed to be extirpated in this region (Biju and Bossuyt 2009). Intense survey efforts in suitable regions between the known localities in Kerala State have not shed any new records; however, a more extensive field survey is needed to further ascertain its range (Biju and Bossuyt 2009; S.B.D. Biju pers comm. October 2011). The three sites where it is currently known to occur are herein considered to be individual threat-defined locations. Its elevational range is reported to be from 350 to 900 m asl (Biju and Bossuyt 2009). Its range, inclusive of the extirpated site, is estimated to be 719 km²; however, only the individual sites where it is/was known to occur are mapped, to allow for a better understanding of where it is still extant and where it has been extirpated. Taking these sites as a proxy for area of occupancy (AOO), this is currently estimated to be 30 km², although this is most likely an overestimation of AOO.
Countries:
Native:
India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu - Regionally Extinct)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It was described in 1891 and despite more recent searches was known only from the holotype. However, it was rediscovered in 2004 from Vandiperiyar, some 70 km northwest of the type locality (Biju and Bossuyt 2009). Compared to other frogs of the same genus from the Western Ghats, this species is considered to be extremely rare as only eleven individuals could be found in Vandiperiyar and Vagaman after successive nights of continuous search in those areas in 2004 and 2006 (Biju and Bossuyt 2009). While it occurs in fragmented habitat patches, it is not known whether the population itself is severely fragmented (S.D. Biju pers. comm. August 2014).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in isolated shrubs surrounded by or near plantations (mostly tea plantations), or in degraded tropical moist evergreen forest areas (S.B.D. Biju pers. comm. October 2011). It is believed to possibly also occur within plantations (S.B.D. Biju pers. comm. October 2011). During the non-breeding season it can be found under leaf litter and logs in secondary vegetation, whereas during the breeding season it can be found on vegetation up to 1 m above the ground (Biju and Bossuyt 2009; S.B.D. Biju pers. comm. October 2011). Like other species of the genus, it is presumed to breed by direct development.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Deforestation through conversion of land to agricultural use and urban development caused the disappearance of this species in Bodanaikanur (Biju and Bossuyt 2009). Major threats to this species in Vandiperiyar and Vagaman are extensive tea cultivation and emerging tourism activity, such as resort construction in the forested areas of Vagaman (S.B.D. Biju pers. comm. October 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It has been recently recorded in Periyar Tiger Reserve (S.D. Biju pers. comm. August 2014). However, conservation of the unprotected sites where it occurs is urgent. More information is needed on this species' population size, distribution and natural history.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Raorchestes travancoricus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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