The scientific name for the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) derives from the Sanskrit word nasika (nose) referring to the pointed snout, the Greek word batrachus (meaning frog), and Sahyadri which is the local name of the Western Ghats mountain range where it was found.

The purple frog was officially discovered by Franky Bossuyt from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels) and S.D. Biju from the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Palode, India in 2003. However, it was well-known to the local people before this.

The recording of the purple frog as a new species to science 2003 prompted one researcher, Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University, US, to describe the discovery as “a once-in-a-century find”. It is thought to be the sole representative of a family of frogs called the Nasikabatrachidae, which is the first new family of frogs to be discovered since 1926!

The purple frog from the southern Western Ghats may be the only known amphibian species in India that is a fully underground forager. All other burrowing frogs are either open burrow feeders or day-time burrow dwellers that are forage above ground at night.