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



White-eared Tree Frog

Species : Feihyla kajau (formerly Rhacophorus kajau)
Size (snout to vent) :
Female - unknown,  Male 2.3 cm

This tiny tree frog occurs only on the island of Borneo, where it appears to have been found mainly in primary, lowland forest (below 750 metres). AmphibiaWeb reports a record from 1000 metres from Mount Penrissen, which lies on the border of Sarawak and North Kalimantan.

It is most commonly found on low ferns, shrubs and slender branches overhanging small streams, pools and swamps. The jelly like mass of eggs is adhered to suitable vegetation, thus allowing emerging tadpoles to fall into the water below. In 2018, parental care of eggs was described for this species, albeit of limited duration.

The upper surface of the head, body and limbs of this frog is bright green, speckled with tiny white spots, whilst the lower flanks, underside of the body and limbs are pale. The eyes are large, and the snout is blunt. Less than 50% of the length of the fingers and toes are webbed, and the webbing is dark in colour.

The tadpoles are large, reaching up to 26.7 mm in length, and are rounded and oval in shape. The tail is around twice the length of the head-body. The dorsal surface of the body is mainly brown, and the lower flanks and top of the head are mottled. The tail is mainly pale and somewhat transparent, but is patterned with dark blotches.

This frog was formerly assigned to the genus Rhacophorus, but since 2013 is now more widely accepted to be a member of the genus Feihyla.

Within Borneo this species has been documented from Sabah, Sarawak and northern parts of the Indonesian province of Kalimantan.

Fig 1 : Typical example from Kubah National Park, Sarawak found resting on a fern overhanging a puddle near a small, lowland stream.

Fig 2 : This tadpole was found in the shallow puddle beneath the frog in Figure 1.

All photos thanks to Law Ing Sind.

References : H19

Das, I., Hedeir, H., Pui, Y. M., Hertwig, S. T., & Haas, A. (2016). Larval external morphology and development in Feihyla kajau (Dring, 1983) (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 64, 319-328.

Hertwig, S. T., Schweizer, M., Das, I., & Haas, A. (2013). Diversification in a biodiversity hotspot The evolution of Southeast Asian rhacophorid tree frogs on Borneo (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 68(3), 567-581.

Sorokin, A., & Steigerwald, E. (2018). Evidence for parental care in Feihyla kajau (Anura: Rhacophoridae). Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 17(1), 127-130.


Fig 1
ゥ  Law Ing Sind
Fig 2
ゥ  Law Ing Sind