Boophis tampoka

Subgenus: Boophis
family: Mantellidae
subfamily: Boophinae
Species Description: Koehler J, Glaw F, Vences M. 2007. A new green treefrog, genus Boophis Tschudi 1838 (Anura Mantellidae), from arid western Madagascar: phylogenetic relationships and biogeographic implications. Tropical Zoology 20(2): 215-227

© 2010 Joern Koehler (1 of 1)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Boophis tampoka is a green treefrog with snout-vent lengths in adult males from 26.8 - 36.4 mm; the larger females range from 40.8 - 46.8 mm (Kohler et al. 2007; Vences et al. 2011). The holotype was an adult male with 34.8 mm snout-vent length. This specimen had a slender body with head as wide as its body, though the head is slightly longer than wide. The nostrils are directed dorsolaterally, being nearer to eye than to tip of snout. It possesses a distinct, rounded tympanum with small rounded choanae. The arms are slender and the fingers have moderate webbing and enlarged finger discs, with relative length of fingers 1 < 2 < 4 < 3, with finger 2 distinctly shorter than finger 4. This male also had small unpigmented nuptial pads that are faintly visible on the inner side of first finger. Hind limbs are slender, with a relative toe length of 1 > 2 > 5 > 3 > 4 and enlarged toe discs. The skin on dorsal surfaces is smooth, but the ventral skin is glandular around the throat, chest and cloacal opening (Kohler et al. 2007).

Boophis tampoka is in the Boophis luteus group. This species is characterized by minute scattered red dots on the dorsum and light dorsolateral and canthal lines (also known only in B. andohahela and B. septentrionalis), though molecular analysis reveals that B. tampoka is the sister taxon of B. luteus. The latter mainly differs from B. tampoka by iris colouration in life (red outer iris ring versus golden iris; Kohler et al. 2007). However, it is important to note that external morphology does not appear to be a reliable character in determining species within the B. luteus group (Glaw and Vences 2002). Boophis tampoka can be distinguished from other green Boophis species by a few key morphological differences. Boophis tampoka differs from members of the B. albilabris group and B. microtympanum by translucent green dorsal coloration life (versus opaque green). It differs from the B. rappiodes and B. mandraka species groups by the presence of lateral dermal fringes along lower arm and tarsus (versus absent) and a pigmented ventral side (versus transparent ventral skin). It differs from species of the B. albipunctatus group by having a bi-lobed inflated vocal sac (versus a single vocal sac) and by the larger size of males (30 - 35 versus 24 - 33 mm; Kohler et al. 2007).

In life, the top of the head, flanks, and dorsum are a translucent green with blue tint. On certain parts of the dorsum, scattered yellowish or white dots may be present. Tiny indistinct red dots are found on the dorsum and head, though sometimes these can also be found on the dorsal surfaces of limbs. Boophis tampoka's upper eyelid is covered by a reddish brown fleck. A yellow line, which can be incomplete or interrupted, runs from the eye to the nostril, continuing to the tip of snout. A dorsolateral line of the same color runs several millimeters posteriorly from the posterior corner of the eye and usually fades at the midbody; this line is indistinct or almost absent in a few specimens. The iris is golden with an irregularly shaped brown inner ring and has a blue periphery. The venter is white and ventral surfaces of arms and legs are bluish-green. The throat is pale bluish-green and the webbing between digits is yellowish-green; the toe and finger discs are bluish-green (based on color slides of four males and one female). In preservative, this species is typically uniformly yellowish-white dorsally and ventrally, with the exception of each nostril being marked with a minute brown spot and diffuse bronze tan flecks covering the upper eyelids (Kohler et al. 2007).

The morphology of the paratypes is very similar to the holotype. However, the relation of head width and length appears to be a variable parameter; a few specimens having head width greater than head length. It is possible that differences in this character might be due to measurement error. In life, the red dots on head and dorsum are very indistinct in some specimens, although always detectable. In addition, the yellow dorsolateral line is strongly interrupted or faint in some specimens, and is sometimes virtually absent (Kohler et al. 2007).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Originally this species was known from one locality: from Andafiabe at the Beboka River (18°47'03''S, 44°46'46''E, 177 m), within Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Mahajanga Province, Madagascar (Kohler et al. 2007). However, a recent study by Vences et al. (2011) found four new locality records of B. tampoka that extended the range of this species by almost 500 km. These new locality records are from north to south: Antambato village, between Bealanana and Ambatoria (14°29'34.9'' S, 48°52'7.1'' E, 1188 m), Sahaovy Campsite, on the western slope of the Makira plateau, outside of Makira reserve (15°29'19.9''S, 49°04' 42.6'' E, 607 m), Antsatramidola village (15°38'02.5'' S, 48°58'03.1'' E, 404 m), and at a bridge at km 27 of road between Antsohihy and Befandriana (15°03'11.6'' S, 48°12'23.l'' E, 140 m). The total elevational range for this species is 140 - 1188m.

Most specimens and calls were collected near shallow, sandy streams and rivers in areas with varying tree cover, ranging from thick gallery forest to greatly degraded areas (Vences et al. 2011). Overall, the climate is much drier compared to the distribution of the other closely related species (Kohler et al. 2007).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Boophis tampoka has at least two different call types. One is a long series of constant whistling notes repeated at regular intervals while the other is a shorter series of very short click-like notes repeated in rapid succession. The whistling call has a duration of 12.7 – 14.6 sec, note duration of 159 - 180 msec, note repetition rate of 3.17 – 3.37 notes/sec, 47 – 54 calls/note, and frequency range of 3000 – 3800 Hz. Click calls have a duration of 0.18 – 0.57 sec, note duration of 3 -10 msec, not repetition rate of 11.5 - 13.5 notes/sec, 3-7 notes/call, and frequency range of 2400 – 3200 Hz (Kohler et al. 2007).

In March and April, abundant males were observed calling from forest trees and bushes about half a meter to several meters high along the edges of rivers at night. Males tended to form large choruses. Within these choruses, click calls were heard more frequently than those produced by isolated calling males. Pairs in axillary amplexus were found close to the choruses in bushes and trees though one pair in amplexus was found in a stream. All observed females were gravid, which suggests that reproduction occurs at the end of the rainy season. One female contained about 240 eggs, though no tadpoles were found. It is assumed that they develop in shallow water at the river's edge (Kohler et al. 2007; Vences et al. 2011).

Trends and Threats
The four localities uncovered by Vences et al. (2011) provide a significant range extension of this new species. Combined with its tolerance of a significant degree of habitat destruction in these new habitats suggest that the species is less threatened than previously believed. Potential threats to this species are ongoing habitat degradation, largely through general deforestation, overgrazing of vegetation by cattle, and water pollution (Andreone et al. 2008) Due to these new factors, Vences et al. (2011) proposed to change Boophis tampoka's IUCN threat status to “Near Threatened” from its current status of “Endangered” because it is known from less than 10 locations and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities

The species authority for Boophis tampoka is: Köhler, J. Glaw, F., Vences, M. (2007) A new green treefrog genus Boophis Tschudi 1838 (Anura Mantellidae), from arid western Madagascar: phylogenetic relationships and biogeogeographic implications. Trop. Zool., 20, 215-227.

Maximum likelihood and Maximum Parsimony analyses of 16S rRNA sequences showed Boophis tampoka formed a well-supported monophyletic group with Boophis luteus from Andasibe. The also showed a 5.7% uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence between B. tampoka and B. luteus. But the analysis was unable to determine the basal relationships in the B. luteus and B. albipunctatus species groups (Kohler et al. 2007)

The specific name is derived from the Malagasy word tampoka, which means unexpected because the discovery of a member of the Boophis luteus group in arid central-western Madagascar was not anticipated (Kohler et al. 2007).


Andreone, F., Cox, N., Glaw, F., Kohler, J. Rabibisoa, N. H. C., Randriamahazo, H., Randrianasolo, H., Raxworthy, C. J., Stuart, S. N., Vallan, D., Vences, M. 2008. Update of the Global Amphibian Assessment for Madagascar in light of species discoveries, nomenclature changes, and new field information. Monografie del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino, XLV, 419-438.

Glaw, F., Vences, M. 2002. A new cryptic treefrog species of the Boophis luteus group from Madagascar: bioacoustic and genetic evidence (Amphibia, Anura, Mantellidae). Spixiana, 25, 173-181.

Köhler, J. Glaw, F., Vences, M. 2007. A new green treefrog, genus Boophis Tschudi 1838 (Anura Mantellidae), from arid western Madagascar: phylogenetic relationships and biogeogeographic implications. Tropical Zoology, 20, 215-227.

Vences, M., Kohler, J., Vieites, D. R., and Glaw, F. 2011. Molecular and bioacoustic differentiation of deep conspecific lineages of the Malagasy treefrogs Boophis tampoka and B. luteus. Herpetology Notes, 4, 239-246

Written by Taylor Gullett (taylor.gullett AT, University of Texas at Austin
First submitted 2013-07-08
Edited by David Cannatella, Ann T. Chang, & David Wong (2013-07-22)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2013 Boophis tampoka <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 23, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Apr 2017.

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