Rhacophorus tunkui

Rhacophorus tunkui

name = "Rhacophorus tunkui"

status = see text
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
subphylum = Vertebrata
classis = Amphibia
subclassis = Lissamphibia
ordo = Anura
subordo = Neobatrachia
familia = Rhacophoridae
subfamilia = Rhacophorinae
genus = "Rhacophorus"
species = "R. tunkui"
binomial = "Rhacophorus tunkui"
binomial_authority = Kiew, 1987

"Rhacophorus tunkui" is a disputed species of frog in the moss frog family (Rhacophoridae). It is known only from the southern and southeastern parts of Peninsular Malaysia, but might be more widespread. It is often treated as a junior synonym of "R prominanus" (Malayan Flying Frog), but this seems to be premature; actually it appears to be a parapatric cryptic sister species. "R. dulitensis" from Borneo and Sumatra is probably another close relative.

Specimens assigned to "R. tunkui" are reported from the Gunong Panti hills, Sungai Jasin and Ulu Endau in Johor, and Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara National Park in Pahang.Tzi Ming (2004)]


This is a mid-sized tree frog with a jade to turquoise green and somewhat translucent back. Specimens are two-thirds the size of Malayan Flying Frogs, i.e. females attaining a body length of up to 5 cm (2 in), while the smaller males measure 4.2 cm or less. There is a red blotch on the web between the fourth and fifth hind toe.

Tadpoles are greyish green and have two or three round black spots on each side of the tail base. Towards metamorphosis, they become greener. They lose their tail when they are about 26-30 mm long and freshly emergent juveniles measure about 8.5-11 mm. The labial tooth row formula (LTRF) is 5(2-5)/3 in small tadpoles and 6(2-6)/3 in older ones. Malayan Flying Frog tadpoles are one-fifth longer and lack the black spots; the emergent juveniles can measure up to 15 mm.

Ecology, status and taxonomy

Its natural habitats are tropical primary rainforests of the lowlands, where they presumably inhabit rivers, intermittent rivers, and intermittent freshwater marshes. A foam nest with freshly deposited eggs was found on January 4; it was deposited on the leaf of a shrub standing in a small floodpool of 10 square meters surface area and 80 cm maximum depth. Calling males were also encountered, proving that the mating season was in full swing. Other frog species found at the site were "Kaloula baleata", "Microhyla borneensis", Palmated Chorus Frog ("M. palmipes"), Bongao Tree Frog ("Polypedates macrotis") and Frilled Tree Frog ("Rhacophorus appendiculatus"). A young Triangle Keelback snake ("Xenochrophis trianguligerus") was observed to feed on the eggs.

Its conservation status has not been assessed by the IUCN. However, the IUCN followed a recent study [Harvey "et al." (2002)] , according to which "Rhacophorus tunkui" was a junior synonym of "R. prominanus" [Sukumaran "et al." (2004)] . The synonymy, however, was subsequently criticized for severe methodological flaws:

"... the justifications provided by Harvey "et al." (2002) were insufficient and unconvincing, especially when type material of both "R. prominanus" and "R. tunkui" were not even examined."

While more research seems warranted, these frogs are thus better considered two species for the time being. It is not known how the restricted habitat of "R. tunkui" – much lowland rain forest in Peninsular Malaysia is being or has already been destroyed for plantations – would affect its conservation status. Given that it occurs in Taman Negara National Park, it would not be immediately threatened with extinction and thus both taxa would most appropriately be considered as Data Deficient.

ee also

* "Rhacophorus bipunctatus" and "Rhacophorus rhodopus"
* "Rhacophorus kio" a cryptic sister species of "Rhacophorus reinwardtii"



* (2002): New and poorly known parachuting frogs (Rhacophoridae: "Rhacophorus") from Sumatra and Java. "Herpetological Monographs" 16: 46-92. DOI:10.1655/0733-1347(2002)016 [0046:NAPKPF] 2.0.CO;2 [http://www.bioone.org/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1655%2F0733-1347(2002)016%5B0046%3ANAPKPF%5D2.0.CO%3B2 HTML abstract]
*|year=2004|id=59015|title=Rhacophorus prominanus|downloaded=23 July 2007
* (2004): Larval descriptions of some poorly known tadpoles from Peninsular Malaysia (Amphibia: Anura). "Raffles Bulletin of Zoology" 52(2): 609-620. [http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/rbz/biblio/52/52rbz609-620.pdf PDF fulltext]

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