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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2023



Malayan Flying Frog

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7



Species : Rhacophorus prominanus
Size (snout to vent) :
Female 7.6 cm,  Male 6.2 cm

The Malayan Flying Frog Rhacophorus prominanus belongs to a group of three closely related tree frogs which exhibit rich colouration of green, turquoise, blue and red.

According to current knowledge, R. prominanus occurs in primary hill and montane forest, down to around 600 metres elevation in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra. (Its sister species, the smaller R. tunkui, appears to be restricted to lowlands). A third species, the Jade Tree Frog R. dulitensis, is restricted to Borneo.

The images presented here were all taken at or near a roadside ditch at Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia at an approximate elevation of 1000 metres. The frogs were perched from 2 to 3 metres above the ground in the fronds of a Cyathea tree fern. A foam nest was found on the trunk of a neighbouring tree, and well-developed tadpoles were found trapped in a man-made drainage structure a few metres from the Cyathea.

The head, back and upper surface of the limbs are green with numerous dark brown and pale speckles, the flanks are blue to turquoise with sparse pale speckles. and the belly is pale. The skin beneath the limbs is bright blue, and between the third and fifth toes the skin is bright red.

Overall the skin is fairly smooth to finely granular, with small tubercles. The fingers and toes are extensively webbed, and all digits have well-developed disks. There is a square cartilaginous flap above the anus, which is a diagnostic feature.

The Malayan Flying Frog has been confirmed in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Figs 1 to 4 : Typical specimens perching on low branches of a Cyathea tree fern. On Fig 4 note the square cartilaginous flap above the anus - this is a diagnostic feature.

Fig 5 : Mating pair : note the smaller size of the male.

Fig 6 : Foam nest, adhering to moist tree trunk at forest edge.

Fig 7 : Well developed tadpole in a roadside drain, tentatively identified as of Rhacophorus prominanus.

All images from Fraser's Hill, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia (elevation approximately 1000m)

References :

Leong, T. M., 2004. Larval descriptions of some poorly known tadpoles from Peninsular Malaysia (Amphibia: Anura). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 52 (2): 609620.

Thanks to Leong Tzi Ming for his comments.