Species Description: Glaw F, Koehler J, de la Riva I, Vieites DR, Vences M 2010 Integrative taxonomy of Malagasy treefrogs: combination of molecular genetics, bioacoustics and comparative morphology reveals twelve additional species of Boophis. Zootaxa 2382:1-82.
Boophis arcanus can be easily differentiated from the three northern species of the Boophis majori group (B. blommersae, B. marojezensis, and B. vittatus) due to the red coloring on the thighs and feet. Also, B. arcanus is almost uniformly brown and slightly larger than the other B. majori complex species. Bolitoglossa arcanus can also be differentiated from B. miniatus and B. picturatus by its different yellowish iris color and the vertical brown reticulations, which both other species lack (Glaw et al. 2010).
In life, this species has uniform light brown dorsal surfaces with sporadic dark spots. The chest and belly are white, and there is an uncolored area in the inguinal region. The underside of the legs and thighs are reddish, along with the tips of the fingers and toes. The iris is yellowish with a pattern of dark vertical stripes and a turquoise whitish iris periphery (Reimann et al. 2012). In preservative, distinct dark crossbands become visible: three on its forelimbs, two on its hindlimbs, and one along the jaw. The red on the thighs is still visible (Glaw et al. 2010).
The female paratype for B. arcanus had similar dorsal surfaces to other described specimens but had a bluish inguinal region. The iris was more silvery than yellow, and the iris periphery was blue (Glaw et al. 2010).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Individuals dwell in bushes and trees and have been found at 1 - 2 meters above ground (Glaw et al. 2010; Riemann et al. 2012).
Boophis acranus’s call contains two note types. It starts with type 1, which consists of three pulsed notes, emitted in nonuniform intervals (interval between first and second note is 1437 ms, the interval between second and third note is 374 ms). After a 1262 ms interval, a series of 85 pulsed type 2 notes follows, separated by short intervals of 35 - 72 ms (41.4 ± 11.1 ms, n = 10) at the beginning and only 24 - 32 ms (26.7 ± 2.3 ms, n = 10) at the end of the series. A single type 1 note follows after 81 ms, which ends the call. Type 1 notes show the following characteristics: note duration is 61 – 86 ms (70 ± 11.9 ms, n = 4); number of pulses is 11 – 23 (15.3 ± 5.3, n = 4); dominant frequency range is ca 4000 – 6000 Hz; maximum call energy is 4900 Hz. Type 2 note characteristics: note duration is 37 – 42 ms (39.4s ± 1.8 ms, n = 10) at the beginning and 43 – 55 ms (49.3 ± 3.1 ms, n = 10) at the end; number of pulses is 11 – 14 (12.2 ± 1.0, n = 10) at the beginning and 18 – 25 (21.5 ± 1.8) at the end; note repetition rate is 13.7 notes/s; dominant frequency range is 4600 – 7000 Hz; and four energy maxima, 4800 Hz, 5300 Hz, 5800 Hz, 6500 Hz (Riemann et al. 2012).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Boophis arcanus has been placed in the Boophis majori group through phylogenetic analysis on mitochondrial DNA. Its position in the lineage has not been determined, but it does have high genetic divergences from other species in the Boophis genus: 7.3% to B. miniatus, 8.2% to B. piperatus, 8.4% to B. feonnyala, and over 9% to all other species (Glaw et al. 2010).
The species epithet, “arcanus”, is Latin for “hidden” or “secret”. The species authority picked this name because the species is difficult to identify solely on morphology, and because Glaw and his team were only able to locate two specimens despite intensive searching (Glaw et al. 2010).
Glaw, F., Kohler, J., De La Riva, I., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. (2010). "Integrative taxonomy of Malagasy treefrogs: combination of molecular genetics, Bioacoustics and comparative morphology reveals twelve additional species of Boophis." Zootaxa, 2383, 1-82. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. "Boophis arcanus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T49381365A49381418. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T49381365A49381418.en. Downloaded on 19 February 2021
Riemann, J. C., Ndriantsoa, S. H., Vences, M., Roedel, M. O., Glos, J. (2012). "Advertisement call and male morphology of the Malagasy treefrog Boophis arcanus from the Ranomafana region, south-eastern Madagascar." Zootaxa, 3250(1), 66-68. [link]
Originally submitted by: Daniel Drager, Jared Flint, Berenice Rodarte (2021-07-29)
Description by: Daniel Drager, Jared Flint, Berenice Rodarte (updated 2021-07-29)
Distribution by: Daniel Drager, Jared Flint, Berenice Rodarte (updated 2021-07-29)
Life history by: Daniel Drager, Jared Flint, Berenice Rodarte (updated 2021-07-29)
Trends and threats by: Daniel Drager, Jared Flint, Berenice Rodarte (updated 2021-07-29)
Comments by: Daniel Drager, Jared Flint, Berenice Rodarte (updated 2021-07-29)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-07-29)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Boophis arcanus <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/7453> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Aug 19, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 Aug 2022.
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