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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Crab-eating Frog

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4










Species : Fejervarya cancrivora
Size (snout to vent) :
Females up to 10.7 cm, males up to 8.0 cm

Play call

The Crab-eating Frog occurs in a range of lowland habitats, but in its native environment it is found in coastal scrub, marshes, mangroves and coastal rice paddies. The species (and its tadpoles) can tolerate brackish water.

Its diet will vary depending on habitat: a study in Singapore showed that in mangrove areas it will consume small crabs and other small crustaceans, but in freshwater areas its prey comprises mainly insects (Elliott & Karunakaran, 1974).

In the field, smaller specimens are not always easy to distinguish from the closely related Field Frog Ferjervarya limnocharis. The latter, however, has a shallower head and a snout which is less pointed (when viewed from above).

Typically there are discontinuous skin folds or ridges running along the back of Fejervarya cancrivora. Its eyes are relatively large. It has extensive webbing on its hind feet, but its front feet have none.

Colouration and patterning can be quite variable, but typically comprises light and dark mottling and blotches of pale brown and dark brown. The ventral surface is pale. Some specimens may possess a vertebral stripe.

The meaty legs of this species are consumed by villagers in some parts of the region, and are exported from Indonesia. (Kusrini & Alford, 2006).

This species occurs in southern Thailand (where a larger form, sometimes referred to as Fejervarya raja, exists in the southeast), Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Bali. Introduced populations are present in Papua New Guinea and on the island of Guam (Yodthong et al, 2019). The species may also occur on the island of Flores, in eastern Indonesia (Zug & Kaiser, 2014).

Fig 1 : Specimen found close to beach habitat, Pulau Sugi, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia.

Fig 2 : Large adult specimen in brackish water at Pulau Sugi, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia.

Fig 3 : Specimen in mangrove habitat at Pulau Ubin, Singapore.

Fig 4 : Fejervarya sp. (Fejervarya cancrivora ?) from Potowangka, western Flores, Indonesia in an area of disturbed secondary habitat.

References :

Elliott, A. B. & Karunakaran, L. (1974). Diet of Rana cancrivora in fresh water and brackish water environments. Journal of Zoology, 174(2), 203-215

Kusrini, M.D. & Alford, R.A. (2006). 'Indonesia痴 exports of frogs legs. TRAFFIC Bulletin, 21, 13-24.

Yodthong S., Stuart B. L. & Aowphol, A.  (2019)  Species delimitation of crab-eating frogs (Fejervarya cancrivora complex) clarifies taxonomy and geographic distributions in mainland Southeast Asia. ZooKeys 883: 119153.

Zug, G. R. & Kaiser, H. (2014). A new species of four-toed skink (Squamata: Scincidae: Carlia peronii species group) from Pulau Sukur, Indonesia, and biogeographic notes on the herpetofauna of Flores and Komodo. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 126(4), 379-392.