Narrow-Mouthed Frogs: Microhylidae
Malaysian Painted Frog (kaloula Pulchra): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: The Malaysian painted frog is also known as the painted or Asian bullfrog, chubby frog, rice frog, and bubble frog. It has the teardrop-shaped body common to many narrow-mouthed frogs. This frog has no neck bones and, therefore, no neck, which gives it a chubby look. Its back is mostly chocolate brown with a wide, light yellowish to cream-colored band on each side of the body. The band is outlined with a thin, dark brown line. The yellowish cream color also covers the top of its snout between its large eyes. The frog has rather short legs, which are mottled with brown, light gray, and cream colors, and barely webbed feet. Each of its back feet has a spade for digging. The toes on its feet end in small pads. Malaysian painted frogs are one of the largest species in this family and grow to 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) long from snout to rump.
Geographic range: The Malaysian painted frog lives in southeastern Asia, including China and Taiwan, and parts of Indonesia. Populations also live in Borneo and Sulawesi, but people probably brought the frogs to these areas.
Habitat: The Malaysian painted frog is different from most frogs, which tend to stay away from towns and other places where people have moved in and made changes to the environment. Instead, this species lives in and around towns and avoids quiet, people-free areas.
Diet: The Malaysian painted frog eats a variety of small insects, especially ants.
Behavior and reproduction: For much of the time, the frogs stay out of sight by digging backward into underground burrows, into piles of trash, and into other secretive spots they find along the ground. When the rains come, however, the frogs come out to mate in pools that have filled with water. The males float in the pools and blow up their bodies to make calls that sound like loud honks. Females arrive and mate with the males. The female's eggs quickly turn into tadpoles, which rapidly change into froglets. This speedy growth is important because the water in their pools usually dries up in a very short time after the rains end.
Malaysian painted frogs and people: This species is fairly common in the pet trade. Although it lives near homes and buildings, people rarely see this usually underground frog in the wild. Some people, however, do hunt it for food.
Conservation status: The World Conservation Union (IUCN) does not consider the Malaysian painted frog to be at risk. This frog lives in a large area, and the area is in good shape. Moreover, even though it is collected as food and is seen in the pet trade, the frog remains very common in the wild. ∎
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