AmphibiaWeb - Leptobrachella aspera
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(Translations may not be accurate.)

Leptobrachella aspera Wang, Lyu, Qi & Wang, 2020
Huanglianshan Leaf Litter Toad (English), Huang Lian Shan Zhang Tu Chan (黄连山掌突蟾 - Chinese)
family: Megophryidae
subfamily: Leptobrachiinae
genus: Leptobrachella
Species Description: Wang J, Z-T Lyu, S Qi, Z-C Zeng, W-X Zhang, L-S Lu, and Y-Y Wang. 2020. Two new Leptobrachella species (Anura, Megophryidae) from the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, southwestern China. ZooKeys 995: 97–125.
 
Taxonomic Notes: Leptolalax species transferred to Leptobrachella after: Chen et al 2018 Large-scale phylogenetic analyses provide insights into unrecognized diversity and historical biogeography of Asian leaf-litter frogs, genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 124: 162–171.

AmphibiaChina logo AmphibiaChina 中国两栖类.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
CITES No CITES Listing
National Status None
Regional Status None

   

 
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Description
Leptobrachella aspera is a small frog described from one male and three female specimens with a snout-vent length of 22.4 mm in the male, and a snout-vent length range of 25.0 - 26.4 mm in the females. The length of the head is slightly larger than the head width. The snout protrudes slightly beyond the margin of the lower jaw. The nostrils are closer to the snout than the eyes. The canthus rostralis is gently rounded, the loreal region is slightly concave, and the interorbital space is flat with internarial distance being greater than interorbital distance. The pineal ocellus is absent. The pupils of the eyes are vertical and the eye diameter is shorter than the snout length. The tympanum is distinct and rounded, slightly concave. The diameter of the tympanum is smaller than the diameter of the eye. The upper margin of the tympanum touches the supratympanic ridge.

The dorsal surface is rough and has dense conical granules, tubercles, and glandular folds. The ventral surface is smooth. Tiny tubercles are on the surface of the chest. The pectoral gland and femoral gland are oval shaped. The size of the pectoral glands is equal to the femoral gland. The femoral gland is located on the posteroventral surface of the thigh, close to the knee. The supra-axillary glands and ventrolateral glands are raised. On the hands, a large, rounded inner palmar tubercle is separated from the smaller, rounded outer palmar tubercle. The relative finger lengths are I < IV < II < III. The fingers do not have webbing or lateral fringes. The tips of the fingers are rounded and slightly swollen. Nuptial pads and subarticular tubercles are absent. The tibio-tarsal articulation of the adpressed limb reaches a point between the middle of eye and the anterior corner of eye. On the foot, the inner metatarsal tubercle is large and ovular. The outer metatarsal tubercle is absent. The relative toe lengths are I < II < III < IV. The toes have rudimentary webbing with narrow lateral fringes on each toe. There are distinct longitudinal dermal ridges under the 3rd to 5th toes, which are not interrupted at the articulations. Subarticular tubercles are absent. The tips of the toes are rounded and slightly swollen. (Wang et al. 2020)

Leptobrachella asper a is most closely related to L. feii but can be distinguished by the former having a relatively short head; distinct regular dark patches on the chest and abdomen; amber color of the upper half of the iris; ventrolateral glands forming an non-continuous line; relative finger lengths I < IV < II < III; and having the tibio-tarsal articulation of the adpressed hind limb reach the region between middle of eye and the anterior corner of eye. Leptobrachella aspera can be distinguished from L. pluvialis by the latter having smooth dorsal skin with flattened tubercles on flanks, the absence of webbing on toes, and the relatively longer hindlimbs where the tibia-tarsal articulation reaches the nostril. Leptobrachella asper and L. dorsospina were described in the same article with the latter being larger, having conical dorsal spines, black spots on the flanks, grayish ventral skin with black spots and orange pigmentation, and breaks in the longitudinal ridges of toes III thru V at the articulations. From other Leptobrachella, L. aspera has a larger body size than L. baluensis, L. brevicrus, L. bondangensis, L. fusca, L. itiokai, L. juliandringi, L. mjobergi, L. natunae, L. parva, L. palmata, and L. serasanae. And male L. aspera have a smaller snout-vent length than L. aerea, L. alpina, L. bijie, L. botsfordi, L. bourreti, L. chishuiensis, L. eos, L. firthi, L. flaviglandulosa, L. fuliginosa, L. isos, L. kalonensis, L. khasiorum, L. laui, L. lateralis, L. macrops, L. maculosa, L. minima, L. nahangensis, L. nokrekensis, L. nyx, L. neangi, L. namdongensis, L. oshanensis, L. pallida, L. pelodytoides, L. petrops, L. puhoatensis, L. purpura, L. purpuraventra, L. pyrrhops, L. rowleyae, L. suiyangensis, L. sungi, L. tadungensis, L. tamdil, L. tengchongensis, L. tuberosa, L. ventripunctata, L. wuhuangmontis, L. yingjiangensis, L. yunkaiensis, and L. zhangyapingi. The presence of supra-axillary and ventrolateral glands, can distinguish L. aspera from L. arayai, L. dringi, L. fritinniens, L. gracilis, L. hamidi, L. heteropus, L. kajangensis, L. kecil, L. marmorata, L. melanoleuca, L. maura, L. picta, L. platycephala, L. sabahmontana and L. sola. The narrow lateral fringes on toes on L. aspera can distinguished the species from L. applebyi, L. ardens, L.crocea, and L. melica, and from L. liui, which has wide lateral fringes on toes. Furthermore, the rudimentary webbing on the toes distinguishes L. aspera from L. ardens. And, the presence of black spots on flanks of L. aspera can distinguished it from L. crocea. The creamy white ventral coloration and distinct regular dark patches on the chest and abdomen of L. aspera can distinguished it from L. applebyi, L. ardens, L. bidoupensis, and L. melica, which all have a reddish brown ventral coloration with white specks, from L. crocea. which has a bright orange ventral coloration, from L. mangshanensis, which lacking dark skin patches on the chest and abdomen, from L. liui, which has creamy white ventral coloration with dark brown spots on the chest and margins, and from L. niveimontis, which has a marbling ventral coloration with black speckling. The rough dorsal skin with dense conical granules, tubercles and glandular folds in L. aspera distinguished the species from L. applebyi, L. ardens, L. bidoupensis, L. mangshanensis, L. melica, and L. niveimontis, which all have smooth dorsal skin (Wang et al. 2020).

In life, the dorsal surface is greyish brown to yellowish brown and contains small light orange granules, as well as distinct darker brown markings that are scattered with irregular light orange or greyish white pigmentations. There is a dark brown inverted triangular pattern between the anterior corners of the eyes that connects with a dark brown W-shaped marking between the axillae. A dark brown blotch can be found under the eye. The tympanum is dark brown, and there is a distinct black supratympanic line. On the dorsal surface of the limbs and digits, there are transverse dark brown bars as well as small light orange granules. The flanks have several enlarged dark patches with a light yellowish green margin. The elbow and upper arms have a distinct coppery orange color. The ventral surface is a creamy white coloration with distinct dark patches on the chest and abdomen. Greyish speckles are present on the throat. The ventral surface of the limbs are greyish purple and scattered with greyish white patches. The supra-axillary gland has a coppery orange coloration. The iris of the eyes are bicolored with amber in the upper half and silver in the lower half (Wang et al. 2020).

In preservative, the dorsal surface of the body and limbs are dark brown. The transverse bars on the limbs are more distinct. The dark brown patterns and markings on the back become indistinct. The orange pigmentations become dark brown, while the greyish white pigmentations become dark grey. The ventral surface of the limbs and the throat become light brown and the speckles on the throat are absent. The surface of the abdomen becomes greyish white with the dark patches on the chest, abdomen, and flanks becoming more distinct. The light yellowish green margin of the patches on the flanks become absent. The supra-axillary gland is greyish white (Wang et al. 2020).

In general, the female paratypes matched the overall characters of the male holotype, with a few exceptions. The male dorsal coloration is greyish brown, whereas the dorsal coloration is yellowish brown in the females. The size of the pectoral glands are equal to the tips of the fingers and the femoral glands in the male, but the females had larger pectoral glands. The tibia-tarsal articulation reaches the anterior corner of the eye in the male, whereas the tibia-tarsal articulation in the females reaches to the middle of the eye. The ventral skin of the thighs in the male was smooth, whereas the skin of the thighs were rough with dense raised tubercles in the females. At the time of the species description, it was not clear if these features represent sexual dimorphism or individual variation (Wang et al. 2020).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China

 
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At the time of the species description, L. aspera was only known from its type locality in Huanglianshan Nature Reserve, Lyuchun County, Yunnan Province, China, which is near the border with Vietnam. The species was discovered along a drainage ditch of a mountainous road. Surrounding the road was a broad-leafed forest at an altitude ca. 1930 m with no hill streams nearby (Wang et al. 2020).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
During the time of field survey from May 31 to June 1, 2019, males were not heard calling (Wang et al. 2020).

Comments

Based on Bayesian Inference of 16S rRNA mtDNA and morphological data, L. aspera has been placed as the sister taxon to L. feii. The next most closely related clade is unresolved (Wang et al. 2020).

The species epithet, “aspera,” is a Latin adjective that means “rough”, alluding to the dorsal skin texture of L. aspera. The common name, “Huanglianshan Leaf Litter Toad,” as well as the Chinese name “Huang Lian Shan Zhang Tu Chan (黄连山掌突蟾)”, are based on its type locality in Huanglianshan (Wang et al. 2020).

References
Wang J, Z-T Lyu, S Qi, Z-C Zeng, W-X Zhang, L-S Lu, and Y-Y Wang. (2020). Two new Leptobrachella species (Anura, Megophryidae) from the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, southwestern China. ZooKeys 995, 97–125. [link]



Originally submitted by: Rick Qu (2024-05-23)
Description by: Rick Qu, Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-05-23)
Distribution by: Rick Qu (updated 2024-05-23)
Life history by: Rick Qu (updated 2024-05-23)
Comments by: Rick Qu, Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-05-23)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2024-05-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2024 Leptobrachella aspera: Huanglianshan Leaf Litter Toad (English) <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/9284> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 20, 2024.



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Jul 2024.

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