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Asian Treefrogs: Rhacophoridae

Physical Characteristics

Asian treefrogs come in many sizes and colors, but they have a few common features. Almost all have sticky pads on the tips of their front and rear toes, which help them to move through trees and on leaves, even when they have to climb straight up. Most Asian treefrogs also have heads that are attached to the body with a noticeable neck. In many other frogs, the head blends back into the body without an obvious neck. The typical Asian treefrog has large eyes with horizontal pupils. Some members of this family have full webbing between all of their toes. In these frogs, which are known as flying or gliding frogs, the webs reach all the way to their toe tips. When their toes are spread wide, the feet almost look like fans. In a few species, including Wallace's flying frog, the frog also has a flat body and flaps of skin or fringe down the sides of the legs. These features give the frog's body a shape rather like that of a kite.

Asian treefrogs may be colored green, brown, gray, black, or white, often with markings on their backs. The underside may be a lighter version of the back color, or it may look completely different. Buerger's frog, for instance, is brown to gray on its back, but white on its belly. The Betsileo golden frog has a gray to brown back, but its underside is black. Most Asian treefrogs can hide well against their surroundings. Perhaps the species with the best camouflage is the Vietnamese mossy frog, which not only has a back and head that are the same green and brown as the moss on the ground, but also has spines and tall bumps, or tubercles (TOO-ber-kulz) that stand up just like the stems and leaves of the moss do. When this frog sits still on moss-covered rocks near streams or at the entrance of caves, a person could walk right past without ever seeing it.

The mantellas look different than most other members of this family. They do not have the toe pads that are common to other species, and they are very brightly colored. Some have red, orange, or yellow backs, while others have black backs and bright-colored legs. The painted mantella is an example. This frog has a black body, a white stripe on its head, legs that are orange on top and yellow underneath, and yellow shoulders.

Depending on the species, Asian treefrogs may be as small as 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) long from the tip of the snout to the end of the rump, or as much as 4.9 inches (12 centimeters) in length. The female is a bit longer than the male in many species, but in others, they are about the same size.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAsian Treefrogs: Rhacophoridae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Kinugasa Flying Frog (rhacophorus Arboreus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, ASIAN TREEFROGS AND PEOPLE