AmphibiaWeb - Cophixalus desticans


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Cophixalus desticans Kraus & Allison, 2009
family: Microhylidae
subfamily: Asterophryinae
genus: Cophixalus
Species Description: Kraus F, Allison A 2009 New species of Cophixalus (Anura: Microhylidae) from Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa 2128: 1-38.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

A small species of Cophixalus, with adult males measuring 13.1-16.2 mm SVL and adult females measuring 13.7-19.1 mm SVL. Wide head with a steep oblique loreal region and large eyes. Rounded canthus rostralis. Nostrils lie close to the rounded snout. Small distinct tympanum with a clearly visible annulus. Dorsum has a narrow vertebral ridge; parallel to this ridge, a series of many parallel wrinkles and pustules is present. Lacks a supratympanic fold. Has long hind legs. Finger discs are smaller than toe discs. Fingers are unwebbed. Finger I is distinct but reduced in size and lacks a disc with a circum-marginal groove. Fingers II-IV bear discs with terminal grooves. Males have vocal slits (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Color pattern is quite variable between individuals. The dorsum may be tan with two black forward-pointing chevrons, or dark tan with irregular dark brown blotches, light unmarked reddish brown or unmarked orange-brown, light brown with a tan vertebral stripe, or brown speckled with black. The face may be black or dark brown and the lower jaw may be dark brown. If no face mask, a vague line may be present between the eyes. A dark lateral stripe may run from the eye to mid-body. Forearm may be burnt orange with dark bands. Legs may be gray with a few burnt-orange tubercles, or dark tan with small dark brown blotches, and chocolate brown on the rear thigh surfaces. A tan stripe may be present on the back of each shank, or the shanks may be dark brown, or the posterior shank may have a yellow-orange wash. Venter may be gray with lighter flecks and dark punctations on the chin and throat, or light-yellow gray on the belly with paired black pectoral spots, or unpigmented but flecked with light or dark gray, or purple-gray. Groin may have a yellow-orange wash. Iris may be dark brown, reddish brown, or orange.

In preservative, the dorsal color may be uniform light tan, or tan with darker chevrons on the suprascapular region and at midbody, or medium brown, clouded with darker brown flecks or indistinct darker brown mottling. A few specimens have a narrow, light tan vertebral stripe. Sides are brown with an irregular dark brown lateral band that runs from behind the eye to midbody. Sides have white flecking below and posterior to the lateral band. Head has a darker blotch between and posterior to the eyes. Tympanum is light brown; a small dark brown region with white specks is present just below the lighter tympanum. The margin of the jaw is dark brown with tiny white flecks. Arms are tan with dark brown spots; the upper arm has a dark brown bar on the anterior surface, and there is a distinct darker brown band at the wrist. Legs are medium brown with darker mottling. The venter is dirty white with dense brown stippling on the chin, throat, and chest, while the abdomen is sparsely stippled. The chest has paired dark-brown spots. The iris is black with bronze stippling and a silver ring around the pupil (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Papua New Guinea


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Endemic to the southeasternmost tip of Papua New Guinea (from Duabo in the Pini Range and Mt. Pekopekowana in the Owen Stanley Mountains) and from Normanby Island, in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago, Milne Bay Province. Usually found in primary and secondary lowland rainforests; seems to be more common in disturbed forest at lower elevation, and less common in high-elevation undisturbed forest. Occurs at elevations from sea level to 600 m ASL (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Males usually call at night while on top of leaf litter or low vegetation no higher than 30-50 cm from the the ground. Call consists of a slow series of 5-25 drawn-out high-pitched squeaking peeps. Notes are unpulsed. The amplitude remains relatively the same throughout the call, while the dominant frequency is 6110 Hz with a range of 5940-6370 Hz (Kraus and Allison 2009).

The species epithet derives from a Latin gerund that means "squeaking" and refers to the advertisement call.


Kraus, F., and Allison, A. (2009). ''New species of Cophixalus (Anura: Microhylidae) from Papua New Guinea.'' Zootaxa, 2128, 1-38.

Originally submitted by: Stephanie Ung (first posted 2009-10-08)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-10-14)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Cophixalus desticans <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Apr 2024.

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