This species might be endemic to the hill and mountain areas of Peninsular Malaysia. There are old records and one recent one from Sumatra, Indonesia. The range mapped in Sumatra remains uncertain. It can occur as low as 550-790m asl, but it occurs mainly above 1,000m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits evergreen rainforest and forest edge, and is an extremely secretive species. It lives in, calls from and breeds in hollows in tree trunks and bamboo by larval development, but its distinctive call makes it easily recognisable and able to be surveyed (P.P. van Dijk, Norsham, Y., J. Sukumaran, Mumpuni pers. obs.). The population density seems to be limited by tree hole availability. Clearing in and around forests can encourage the growth of giant bamboos that can provide additional microhabitat.
Populations of this species are known from most surveyed hill and mountain areas in Peninsular Malaysia. Where it occurs it is generally numerous (based on calls), especially above 900m asl.
It is able to withstand modest habitat impacts such as road construction, but would be threatened, at least locally, by plans for the large-scale Malaysian Highlands Development Project.
It occurs in several protected areas. Safeguarding the ecologically intact survival of substantial areas of montane forest, including protection from pollution impacts, would protect the species from the effects of hill development.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Norsham Yaakob, Jeet Sukumaran, Peter Paul van Dijk, Mumpuni, Djoko Iskandar 2004. Metaphrynella pollicaris. In: IUCN 2014