AmphibiaWeb - Leptobrachella sungi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Leptobrachella sungi (Lathrop, Murphy, Orlov & Ho, 1998)
Sung’s Litter Toad
family: Megophryidae
subfamily: Leptobrachiinae
genus: Leptobrachella
Species Description: Lathrop A, Murphy, Orlov NL, and Ho CT. (1998) Two new species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from northern Vietnam. Amphibia-Reptilia 19: 253–267.
Leptobrachella sungi
© 2022 Thanh Luan Nguyen (1 of 4)

AmphibiaChina logo AmphibiaChina 中国两栖类.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.


A large-sized Leptolalax, males attaining a snout-vent length (SVL) of 49.8 mm and females being slightly larger (58.9 mm). Leptolalax sungi is distinct from all other Leptolalax in having a combination of the following characteristics: (1) large size; (2) fingers 1 and II equal in length; (3) webbing on toes moderate between digits I-1V, basal between IV-V, lateral fringes on toes weakly present; (4) head slightly wider than long (5) snout acuminate in dorsal view and round in lateral view, extending slightly over lower jaw; (6) tympanum indistinct; (7) supratympanic fold distinct; (8) flanks may have small spots, never with large dark patches; (9) dorsum uniformly light brown or wit light spots; (10) venter, smooth and immaculate; (11) a single median subgular vocal sac.

Leptolalax sungi can be distinguished from other species of Leptolalax by its large size (females to 58.9 mm SVL; males to 52.7 mm), absence of large spots along flanks dorsum and limbs covered in coarse granules, and a indistinct tympanum that is obscure by overlying skin. An entirely white venter distinguishes it from all species of Leptolala except L. dringi, L. hamidi, L. arayai and L. bourreti (as taken from the description of Megophrys pelodytoides Bourret 1942: 209). The chin of L. hamidi and L. arayai is dusky (Matsui 1997). In contrast, the chin of L. sungi is entirely white. Furthermore the pattern on dorsum is faint or absent in contrast to discrete spots present on L. hamidi (Matsui 1997). Absence of a glandular area above the insertion of the arm distinguishes it from L. bourreti, L. pelodytoides, L. alpinus, and L. ventripunctatus. Furthermore L. dringi has two glandular zones (Dubois, 1980), one behind the tympanum and the other below the eye; neither of which are found on L. sungi. Fei et al. (1992) report a longitudinal white gland along the ventrolateral margin of the belly that is present i L. alpinus and L. pelodytoides, but this is absent in L. sungi. The subarticular tubercl on the feet are weakly elevated, and not keratinized, thus distinguishing it from a new species from southern Vietnam recently described by Inger et al. (in press).

Holotype. An adult male (ROM 28474) from a stream on the east side of the village of Tam Dao (1º27'31"N; 105º38'61"E), elevation 925 m, Vinh Phu Province, Vietnam; collected on 11 August 1996 by R.W. Murphy


There are seven paratypes, collected in the vicinity of the holotype. Three gravid females , ROM 28472-73, collected by N. Orlov and R. Bain on 22-27 May 1996 and MVZ 223699, collected by T.J. Papenfuss on 7 May 1996; three adult males, ROM 28471 purchased from local hunters on 6 May 1996, ROM 31153, collected by N. Orlov in June 1997 and AMNH 13038 collected by C. Raxworthy and D. Frost on 2 August 1997; one subadult specimen, ROM 31152, collected by N. Orlov in June 1996.

Description of holotype

Head broad, width slightly greater than length, length 92% of width. Snout distinct pointed in dorsal view, and rounded in lateral view, slightly extending beyond mandible. Nostrils situated anterolaterally on snout, closer to tip of snout than toe Internarial distance 24% of head width. Canthus sharp, gently curving ventrally in profile. Loreal region vertical, distinctly concave. Eyes large, twice diameter of tympanum nearly 30% of head length; interorbital width almost twice that of upper eyelid width. Tympanum round, not distinct; diameter less than distance between tympanum and eye. Supratympanic fold distinct, extending from a level dorsal to corner of eye posteroventrally to a point behind articulation of jaw. Vomerine teeth absent; tongue broad, deepy notched. Vocal sac single, median subgular.

Hand length (from base of thenar tubercle to tip of digit III) 30% of SVL, relative lengths of fingers I = II = IV < III (fig. 3); fingers terminate in swollen tips. Webbing absent; large, distinct inner metacarpal tubercle, separated anteriorly from a smaller, conspicuous outer metacarpal tubercle by a slight furrow. Foot length (from base of inner metatarsal tubercle to tip of digit IV), nearly equal to that of tibia, 42% of the SVL. Webbing basal between toes I-IV, absent between IV and V; lateral fringes weak. Subarticular tubercles absent; callous ridge weakly present on ventral side of toes III-V, inner metatarsal tubercle pronounced, eliptical; outer metatarsal tubercle absent.

Skin on dorsum uniformly granular with distinct tubercles dispersed on dorsum, flanks and head; upper eyelid granular, lateral margin with a low distinct granular margin extending on to canthus; no distinct conical tubercle(s) on eye; ridges or dorsolateral folds on back absent; flanks granular with a few larger tubercles near waist; belly, throat, and ventral surface of thighs smooth; chest gland oval, low, and medial to axilla, length larger than that of diameter of tympanum. White gland at terminal end of supratympanic fold absent. Femoral gland present; situated closer to knee than to anus.

Measurements of holotype (in mm)

SVL, 48.3; tibia, 23.1; hand, 13.9; foot, 20.3; head length, 17.6; head width, 19.1; snout length, 5.6; interobital distance 9.4; eye length, 5.4; upper eyelid length, 4.2; eye-nostril distance, 3.4; eye-tympanum, 3.4; tympanum diameter, 2.9; nostril-tip of snout, 2.3; quadratojugal-tip of snout, 21.0.

Color in life

Uniformly light brown on dorsum with scattered, orange tubercles on back, flanks, head, extending anteriorly to eyes, and especially concentrated in areas adjacent to anus. Ventral margin of supratympanic fold, vertical bars on upper lip, transverse bars on limbs, and ventral surfaces of forearm and foot dark brown. Transverse bars on femur distinct on anterior surface, with diffuse mottling posteriorly. Flanks covered with diffuse black flecks. Belly, ventral surface of thighs, and throat creamy-white, with mottling confined to margin of lower jaw, ventral surface of forearm, tibia-tarsus and feet. Toe tips of some specimens imbued with red. Iris almost iridescent gold-green with only slight mottling along outer margin.

Color in preservative

Light to dark brown-gray above and on sides; interorbital bar and canthus dark brown to black, distinct dark bar below eye, extending to ventral edge of upper lip; distinct light, vertical bar at tip of snout; very thin white, granular ridge along margin of canthus and upper eyelid; ventral margin of supratympanic fold dark brown. Femoral gland white; numerous white pustules adjacent to vent.

Variation and remarks

Females are slightly larger, and more robust than males. There are no indications of secondary sexual characters (nuptial excrescences or pads) in males. The color on the dorsum is light brown, consistently having an inverted triangle between the eyes. The remainder of the dorsum may be composed of conspicuous mottling (in preservative) as seen in all specimens, except ROM 28471 and ROM 31153, in which the mottling is absent. Transverse bars on limbs may be distinct (MVZ 223699; ROM 28473; ROM 28474; ROM 31152), broken (ROM 28472), or absent (ROM 28471 and ROM 31153). The formation of the callous ridges underneath the toes may be weak and unclear (ROM 28471; ROM 28474; ROM 31152) or distinctly present (ROM 28472-3; ROM 31153; MVZ 22399) (Lathrop et al 1998).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China, Viet Nam

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
All six specimens collected by us and Dr. Theodore Papenfuss came from the vicinity of single stream passing through the east side of the village of Tam Dao; the seventh specimen was purchased from local collectors and we are unsure of its precise origin. Despite equivalent amounts of time searching alternative streams, all of our efforts failed to produce specimens in these sites. Of the six specimens collected by us, one, the holotype, was collected on the side of the stream ravine, about 1 meter off the ground while poised on a small log. The remaining five frogs were found on the paved road or foot path that is adjacent to the eastern-most stream in the village of Tam Dao. All specimens except a gravid female (ROM 28472) were collected on rainy nights, the latter was found on a warm dry evening (Lathrop et al 1998).

Etymology: The specific name is a patronym for Prof. Dr. Cao Van Sung, Director of Vietnam’s Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, in recognition of his outstanding, unfailing, indefatigable, innovative efforts to protect and conserve Vietnam’s biota (Lathrop et al 1998).


Bourret, R. (1942). Les Batrachiens de L'Indochine. Mémoires de l'Institut Océanografique de l'Indochine, Hanoi.

Dubois, A. (1980). "Notes sur la systématique et la répartition des amphibiens anoures de Chine et les régions avoisinantes." Bulletin de la Societe Linnenne de Lyon, (49), 469-482.

Fei, L., Ye, C., Huang, Y. (1991). Key to Chinese Amphibia. Chongquing Branch, Science and Technology Literature Publishing House, Chongquing (Sichuan).

Lathrop, A., Murphy, R. W., Orlov, N., Ho, C.T. (1998). "Two new species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from northern Vietnam." Amphibia-Reptilia, 19(3), 253-267. [link]

Matsui, M. (1997). ''Call characteristics of Malaysian Leptolalax with a description of two new species.'' Copeia, 1997(1), 158-165.

Originally submitted by: Amy Lathrop (first posted 2000-10-19)
Description by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-03-18)

Edited by: Arie van der Meijden, Michelle S. Koo (2021-08-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Leptobrachella sungi: Sung’s Litter Toad <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 16, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 16 Jul 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.