Boophis popi

Subgenus: Boophis
family: Mantellidae
subfamily: Boophinae
Species Description: Koehler J, Glaw F, Rosa GM, Gehring P-S, Pabijan M, Andreone F, Vences M. 2011Two new bright-eyed treefrogs of teh genus Boophis from Madagascar. Salamandra 47:207-221.

© 2015 Devin Edmonds (1 of 2)

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


Boophis popi is a small, robust, bright-eyed frog. Males have a snout-vent length range of 28.0 – 35.0 mm while females are 40.0 - 47.2 mm. The head is triangularly shaped from a dorsal view and round from a ventral view. The head is about as wide as it is long, and slightly wider than the body. In the dorsal view the snout is slightly pointed and in the lateral view it is rounded. The laterally-directed nostrils are closer to the eye than the tip of snout. The canthus rostralis is straight and sharp in the dorsal view. The loreal region is straight. The eyes are large and the pupils are horizontally oval shaped. The distinct tympanum is located behind eyes near the separation boundary of the head and body. There is a narrow and prominent supratympanic fold (Kohler et al. 2011).

The moderately slender front limbs have lateral fringes in life that are unrecognizable in preservative. There is a small dermal appendage in life that is also indistinct in preservative. The first finger has an unkeratinized nuptial pad and the relative finger lengths are 1 < 2 < 4 < 3. The fingers end in circular pads and have minimal webbing following the formula, (--), 2i (--), 2e (1), 3i (2), 3e (1.5), 4 (1). The single subarticular tubercle per finger is round and the inner palmar tubercle is distinct. The hind limbs are long and slender. When adpressed to the body, the tibotarsal articulation reaches the tip of the snout. There is a distinct small pointed dermal appendage on the heel. The relative toe lengths are 1 < 2 < 3 = 5 < 4. The toes end in circular pads and also have minimal webbing with following the formula, 1(0), 2i (1), 2e (0), 3i (1), 3e (0), 4i (1.5), 4e (1.5), 5 (0.5). There is no outer metatarsal tubercle, but the inner metatarsal tubercle is a moderately distinct, small, elongated (Kohler et al. 2011).

The dorsal side of the leg has distinct tubercles in life but is glossy and smooth after being preserved The skin on the throat, chest, and ventral surfaces of the thighs is smooth. The belly is granular. There are prominent tubercles around the cloaca (Kohler et al. 2011).

Morphologically, B. popi is most similar to B. axelmeyeri but the former is smaller and has a less pointed snout in the dorsal view. Boophis popi can be differentiated from the known members of B. goudoti group based on genetic differences. Morphologically, it is smaller than B. goudoti, B. obscurus, B. periegetes, B. madagascariensis, B. roseipalmatus, B. brachychir, B. entingae, and B. spinophis. Additionally, the red eye with blue periphery distinguishes B. popi from those species as well as from, B. bugeri and B. reticulatus. Boophis popi can be differentiated from B. boehmei and B. quasiboehmei by a combination of larger size and distinct reticulations on the dorsum of the first. From B. rufioculis the focal species can be differentiated by having smaller cloacal tubercles and shorter hindlimbs that only reach the tip snout rather than beyond (Kohler et al. 2011).

In life, the dorsal surfaces of head and body are brown and spotted with black dots on the flanks and posterior portion of the body. There are also some small beige spots with indistinct edges on the body. The flanks have brown and yellow marbling and the limbs, hands, and fingers have distinct, dark brown transverse bands. The tips of the fingers 1 and 4 have white and brown marbling. The throat and chest are marbled with beige and grey. The belly is light brown with small darker spots. The background of the ventral surfaces of the limbs is grey with dense brown spots. The nuptial pad is yellowish. The tubercles around the cloaca are white. Behind and below the eye, there is a distinct bright white spot about 1 mm in diameter. The distinct eye is composed of many colors. The inner iris is a brownish ring with brown vessel-like reticulations. The outer iris is orange-red and stretched toward the dorsum. A black ring encircles the orange-red portion and, outside of the black ring, the posterior portion of the iris is blue (Kohler et al. 2011).

In preservative, the dorsal surfaces of the head and body become a darker brown. The tympanic region is light brown. The transverse bands become less distinct but are still dark brown. The spot posteroventral to the eye is still distinct. The throat and chest become whitish brown with great spots. The belly fades to light grey with brown and grey marbled spots. The yellow coloration on the flanks becomes whitish and the grey on the ventral surface of the thighs and shanks becomes cream. The ventral surfaces of the tarsus and feet are dark brown (Kohler et al. 2011).

Dorsal coloration and marking pattern vary slightly. In preservative, specimens may be lighter in color. The white spot below the eye can be less distinct or completely absent. The blue in the iris may also appear in the anterior region of the eye (Kohler et al. 2011).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Boophis popi is found in the sub-montane rainforest in central Madagascar between the altitudes ranging from 1000 - 1500 m a.s.l. Boophis popi have been found east of Tsinjoarivo, in various locations in the region of Antoetra, in the Ranomafana National Forest on Mount Maharira, and in Imaitso forest in Andringitra National Park. Additionally, tadpoles in two localities in Ranomafanakely near the Kidonafo bridge in the Ranomafana region were determined to be B. popi via DNA barcoding (Kohler et al. 2011).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Boophis popi are nocturnal stream breeders with males audible and visible on the leaves of plants lining the edges of slow flowing water sources during the rainy season (Kohler et al. 2011).

Advertisement calls were recorded on 16 January 1994 in Imaitso Forest, Andrigitra at air temperatures of 19oC. Males produced calls of 2 - 3 notes with note durations lasting between 18 – 29 ms, inter-note intervals lasting 97 - 120 ms, and dominant frequencies between 1800 – 3000 Hz. Maximum call energy was 2120 – 2320 Hz. The calls were similar to other frogs in the B. goudoti group but of comparatively lower frequency due to their larger body size. Kohler et al. (2011) note that the vocalization is not a good indicator of B. popi due to too much of a similarity between related species.

In late April, one tadpole, identified by DNA barcoding, was found in a rainforest stream with a sandy bottom in Tsinjoarivo (Kohler et al. 2011).

Trends and Threats
When described, Boophis popi appeared tolerant to some habitat degradation as individuals could be found in disturbed and fragmented rainforests and had a distribution of approximately 300 km and estimated extent of occurrence at 14,260 km2, which also included two protected ranges. As a result, Kohler et al. (2011) suggested an IUCN Red List status of “Least Concern”. However, by 2015, the species was believed to be in decline due to the extent and quality of forest habitat declining from various human activities. The species was then listed as “Vulnerable” on IUCN’s Red List (IUCN 2015).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation

The species authority is: Köhler, J., Glaw, F., Rosa, G. M., Gehring, P. S., Pabijan, M., Andreone, F., Vences, M. (2011). ''Two new bright-eyed treefrogs of the genus Boophis from Madagascar.'' Salamandra, 47(4), 207-221.

Based on Bayesian analysis of mitochondrial 16S rRNA from species of the B. goudoti group, B. popi is part of the B. goudoti group and sister to the clade formed from B. boehmei and B. fayi. However this relationship is not strongly supported (<95% posterior probability). The clade from those three species is sister to B. quasiboehmei with a posterior probability of 100% (Kohler et al. 2011).

Name dedicated to German company, “pop-interactive GmbH” because of their support of conservation and biodiversity research by the BIOPAT initiative (Kohler et al. 2011).


IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Boophis popi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T49543547A49543610. Downloaded on 1 June 2016

Köhler, J., Glaw, F., Rosa, G. M., Gehring, P. S., Pabijan, M., Andreone, F., Vences, M. (2011). ''Two new bright-eyed treefrogs of the genus Boophis from Madagascar.'' Salamandra, 47(4), 207-221.

Written by Nestor Gutierrez and Ann T. Chang (nmgutier AT, University of California Santa Cruz
First submitted 2017-02-11
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2017-02-19)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2017 Boophis popi <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 25, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Feb 2017.

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