As of today, the total number of frogs and toads in the Western Ghats stands at 206 species, and there are many new species that are yet to be described from here. In the last 14 years, 102 new species have been added to the existing list of frogs and toads of the region – almost at the rate of 7 new species per year.
Despite such diversity, a sound and complete reference guide on frogs and toads of the Western Ghats is not available. One such attempt to cover about one third of known frogs and toads of region is “The pictorial guide to Frogs and Toads of the Western Ghats” published in 2012. Interestingly, the book was sold out within one year of its publication and the second edition is expected to be out in 2015 with revised taxonomy and additional species added to it.
Impressed with the content and handiness of the pictorial guide, Android application developers Harish Shanthi Kumar and Ashwin Murugesh came forward to add the pictorial guide into an Android app. Vinay Varma joined the team later on. With meticulous and sustained effort, the team launched the Android app Frog Find ver. 1.0 on 28th April 2013, coinciding with Save The Frog Day.
Frog Find is the first ever, free android application for field identification of frogs and toads of the Western Ghats. It has, within a year or so, over 2000 installations and a ~4.5 rating on a 5 point scale. The app had features like high quality images, hot spots for identification, ecological status and distribution maps, search facility and more importantly, the option to get observation inputs from the users. This fetched Frog Find the India Geospatial Excellence award in Biodiversity Conservation for the year 2013.
The team did not stop here, in October 2014, a new version of Frog Find (Ver 1.1) <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gubbilabs.frogsandtoads&hl=en> was released with a new feature on advertisement call records of frogs and toads. Ramya Badrinath from Gubbi Labs helped with curating these call records. The observers can now use high quality audio recordings to listen to frog calls, which will aid them with identification. See a demo video of Frog Find 1.1 here –>