Focussing on the vertebrate
 fauna of SE Asia


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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2018





Amphibians of  Southeast Asia

Amphibians reach their greatest diversity in the tropics, particularly in the moist and hot environment of tropical rainforest and freshwater swamp forest.  Southeast Asia is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots for amphibians, where a remarkable evolutionary explosion has resulted in incredible diversity of form, colour and lifestyle: over 700 species occur in the region.  Frogs are to be found in the shallowest puddles, hiding under leaf litter, making their foam nests in streamside vegetation or calling incessantly from treeholes.

Frogs reach their greatest evolutionary expression in the diverse family of Asian Tree Frogs (Rhacophoridae), which includes the spectacular 'Flying Frogs', many of which have evolved extensive webbing between their toes which allows them to glide from tree to tree. Equally remarkable are the tiny Narrow-mouthed Frogs or Chorus Frogs (Microhylidae) : these are often heard but rarely seen, as they measure just 2 cm long. Their jumping ability is quite remarkable as they can easily leap more than a metre or so i.e. more than 50 times body length !

More than 70 of Southeast Asia's frogs are presented here ... and another 50 from Papua New Guinea are compiled on a separate page.


Asiatic Tailed Caecilians  (Ichthyophiidae)

Conservation Links :
Amphibian Specialist Group
Global Amphibian Assessment
Save The Frogs



Yellow-striped Caecilian
Ichthyophis sp.

True Toads  (Bufonidae)   Members of the toad family are recognizable by their rough, warty skin (although this feature is not exclusive to toads). They possess a pair of raised, paratoid glands behind the eye, which secrete a cocktail of toxins when the toad is stressed, and which makes them unpalatable or poisonous to predators. As of 2016, AmphibiaWeb lists 596 species in this family, of which more than 60 occur in Southeast Asia.  Examples :

Sukumaran's Slender Toad
Ansonia jeetsukumarani
  Tioman Slender Toad
Ansonia tiomanica
  Asian Toad
Duttaphrynus melanostictus
  Sulawesi Toad
Ingerophrynus celebensis
  Lesser Toad
Ingerophrynus parvus
Four-ridged Toad
I. quadriporcatus
  St. Andrew's Cross Toadlet
Pelophryne signata  
  River Toad 
Phrynoidis aspera 
  Brown Tree Toad 
Rentapia hosii
  Unidentified Toad
'Bufo sp.' (Panti Forest)  

Litter Frogs, Horned Frogs etc.  (Megophryidae)   Globally, around 200 species of frog belong to this family, of which 100 or so occur in Southeast Asia.  They tend to inhabit forest floor settings, often hiding amongst leaf litter.  Some possess remarkable camouflage which mimics dead leaves, the Malayan Horned Frog Megrophrys nasuta being the best example of this adaptation.  Examples :

Lowland Litter Frog
Leptobrachium abbotti
  Spotted Litter Frog
Leptobrachium hendricksoni
  Mountain Litter Frog
Leptobrachium montanum
  Black-eyed Litter Frog
Leptobrachium nigrops
  Smith's Litter Frog
Leptobrachium smithi
Litter Frog (Fraser's Hill) Leptolalax sp.    Kajang Slender Litter Frog
Leptolalax kajangensis
  Malayan Horned Frog
Megophrys nasuta
  Long-legged Horned Frog
Xenophrys longipes

Fanged Frogs etc. 
(Dicroglossidae)   As of 2017, AmphibiaWeb lists 195 species of frog in 14 genera in this family. In Southeast Asia there are around 100 species, mainly in the genera Ferjervarya, Limnonectes and Occidozyga.  Fanged Frogs (or Fork-tongued Frogs) are so-called because they possess a notched tongue and a pair of sharp projections on the lower jaw. Most species are patterned in various shades of brown. Some species can adapt well to man-made, highly altered habitats.   Examples :

Crab-eating Frog
Fejervarya cancrivora
  Field Frog
Fejervarya limnocharis
  Malayan Giant Frog
Limnonectes blythii
  Corrugated Frog
Limnonectes deinodon
  Hill Forest Frog
Limnonectes hascheanus
Nusa Tenggara Wart Frog
Limnonectes kadarsani
  Kuhl's Creek Frog
Limnonectes kuhlii
  Malesian Frog
Limnonectes malesianus
  Tanahrata Wart Frog
Limnonectes nitidus
  Masked Swamp Frog
Limnonectes paramacrodon
Rhinoceros Frog
Limnonectes plicatellus
  Green Puddle Frog
Occidozyga lima
  Yellow-bellied Puddle Frog
Occidozyga sumatrana 

Typical Frogs  (Ranidae)   With nearly 400 species worldwide, the family Ranidae includes many examples which have a body shape best described as that of a 'typical' frog i.e. they have a pointed snout, elongated body and long hind legs which makes them excellent jumpers.  There are around 150 species in Southeast Asia, many of which are attractively patterned with spots and stripes and are various shades of green and brown. Nearly all are stream or swamp-forest dwellers.   Examples :

Mahogany Frog
Abavorana luctuosa
  Larut Torrent Frog
Amolops larutensis
  Slashed-back Frog
Humerana miopus
  Golden-eared Rough-sided Frog   Hylarana baramica
  Common Greenback
Hylarana erythraea
Rough-sided Frog
Hylarana glandulosa
  Gnther's Frog
Hylarana guentheri
  Copper-cheeked Frog
Hylarana labialis
  Cricket Frog
Hylarana nicobariensis
  Black-striped Frog
Hylarana nigrovittata 
Poisonous Rock Frog
Odorrana hosii
  Banjaran Frog
Pulchrana banjarana 
  Masked Rough-sided Frog
Pulchrana laterimaculata
  Spotted Stream Frog
Pulchrana picturata   
  Black-spotted Rock Frog
Staurois guttatus   

Asian Tree Frogs   (Rhacophoridae)

Spotted Tree Frog
Nyctixalus pictus
  Dwarf Bush Frog
Philautus parvulus
  Vermiculate Bush Frog
Philautus vermiculatus
  Four-lined Tree Frog
Polypedates leucomystax
Dark-eared Tree Frog
Polypedates macrotis
Brown Tree Frog
Polypedates megacephalus
File-eared Tree Frog
Polypedates otilophus
Frilled Tree Frog
Rhacophorus appendiculatus
Twin-spotted Flying Frog
Rhacophorus bipunctatus
Blue-spotted Bush Frog
R. cyanopunctatus
Jade Tree Frog
Rhacophorus dulitensis
  Wallace's Flying Frog
Rhacophorus nigropalmatus
  Norhayati's Flying Frog
Rhacophorus norhayatii
  Harlequin Flying Frog
Rhacophorus pardalis
  Malayan Flying Frog 
Rhacophorus prominanus

Narrow-mouthed Frogs  (Microhylidae)

Saffron-bellied Frog
Chaperina fusca
  Black-spotted Sticky Frog
Kalophrynus pleurostigma
  Brown Bullfrog
Kaloula baleata
  Banded Bullfrog
Kaloula pulchra
  Malayan Treehole Frog
Metaphrynella pollicaris
Bornean Treehole Frog
Metaphrynella sundana
  Painted Chorus Frog
Microhyla butleri
  Dark-sided Chorus Frog
Microhyla heymonsi
  Manthey's Chorus Frog
Microhyla mantheyi
  Pothole Chorus Frog
Microhyla petrigena   

Commonly introduced non-Southeast Asian species :

American Bullfrog
Lithobates catesbeiana

  See also ... Frogs of Papua New Guinea