Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Herp of the Day - Theloderma

Back in March, I stumbled across this thread on kingsnake.com requesting ID of an unusual frog from peninsular Malaysia. I was immediately struck by the subtle characteristics of shape, that this was a Theloderma species, but not one I was aware of. All species I have seen are covered in many tubercles. One species is becoming common in the frog hobby: the Vietnamese Mossy Frog, Theloderma corticale, featured in this education program:

I'll add in a photo comparison of the structure of T. corticale with this unidentified frog later. In any event, I posted my suspicions, unable to find hard structural traits to use to support my ID in the limited available literature. Hans forwarded me to this post on his forum, Nature Malaysia, where the prevailing view was that it couldn't possibly be a Theloderma. Fast forward until just a short while ago. I was chatting with a herp-keeper I know who arranges some imports from southeast asia. He mentioned, as I've been interested in various frogs from southeast asia lately, that he is getting in some Theloderma. What species, I ask, thinking T. corticale, T. asperum, or T. gordoni, the only ones I know about in the hobby (and the latter two very rare). T. licin he says.

Theloderma licin
? Well, that's a new one to me. A few google searches later, and my earlier opinions were vindicated: the mystery frog was described as a new species - Theloderma licin - in this year's first Russian Journal of Herpetology. The citation is:

McLeod, David S., and Norhayati Ahmad. 2007. A new species of Theloderma (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia. Russian Journal of Herpetology. 14 (1): 65-72.

Hans posted about it here, and Danny the herp-keeper posted some of the first specimens in country here. I am unable to get my own copy of the paper, as my library stopped carrying the RJH last year, but here are some scans (click to zoom in and read) from Hans at Nature Malaysia (be sure to check out his site!):

A huge thanks go out to Hans, Danny, and all those involved who helped bring this awesome new discovery to light. Theloderma licin joins the ranks of many other awesome, awesome frogs.

A good overview of many of the other Theloderma species can be found in the excellent journal RJH. This article from RJH last year described another two new species:

Orlov, NL, SK Dutta, HV Ghate, and Y Kent. 2006. New species of Theloderma from Kon Tum Province (Vietnam) and Nagaland State (India) [Anura: Rhacophoridae]. Russian Journal of Herpetology. 13 (2): 135-154.

Pictures I scanned from this article follow (click to zoom and read the caption):

One of the new species, T. ryabovi

T. corticale

T. stellatum

Just begging to be called the bird-shit frog: T. asperum

T. gordoni


  1. very cool frog for sure!

  2. Yeah no kidding. When I borrowed the one T. corticale from LeAnn for the education program, I was parading it around as the coolest frog, ever.

  3. I was never know there Theloderma species. As I sat in school, there is no explanation about Theloderma species. Information from you will be very valuable for many people who do not know many species of frogs, including this Theloderma. I also want to know more of the species of frog of your post.