AmphibiaWeb - Nidirana yaoica


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Nidirana yaoica Lyu, Mo, Wan, Li, Pang & Wang, 2019
Mt Dayao music frog, Yao Qin Wa (瑶琴蛙).
family: Ranidae
genus: Nidirana
Species Description: Lyu Z-T, Mo Y-M, Wan H, Li Y-L, Pang H, Wang Y-Y 2019 Description of a new species of Music frogs (Anura, Ranidae, Nidirana) from Mt Dayao, southern China. ZooKeys 858: 109–126. zookeys.858.34363

AmphibiaChina 中国两栖类.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status N/A
Regional Status N/A



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.


With a stocky body, male Nidirana yaoica have a snout-vent length range of 40.4 - 45.9 mm. There are no females in the species description. The head longer than it is wide when a view from above. From the side and above, the snout is rounded and protrudes out slightly past the lower jaw, with a length longer than the horizontal diameter of the eye. Its round nostrils are farther from the eye than from the snout, and are laterally directed. The frog has a distinguishable canthus rostralis and a concave loreal region. Lengthwise, the frog has a swollen mandibular ridge running from just underneath the nostril, past the eye and tympanum to an area slightly anterior to the insertion of the arm at which point the ridge becomes fragmentary and forms a maxillary and shoulder gland. Nidirana yaoica has no supratympanic fold, and a flat interorbital space that is narrower than the internasal distance. The pupil is horizontally elliptical and the round. The distinct tympanum is a short distance away from the eye (Lyu et al. 2019).

The skin on the upper side of the head and the anterior portion of the body are both smooth. However, the posterior area of the dorsum is rough due to dense patches of tubercles without horny spinules. A noticeably developed dorsolateral fold stretches from the upper eyelid’s rear margin to above the groin, with a fragemented portion on the posterior. Like the skin on the head, the flank is smooth despite the presence of dense tubercles close to the dorsolateral fold. Behind the base of the forelimb is a smooth, large, and somewhat prominent suprabrachial gland. Two longitudinal ridges can be seen extending to the lower arm on the upper side of the upper arm. More longitudinal ridges, along with spiny or thorny tubercles, are observable on the dorsal sides of the tibia and thigh. Conversely, the underside surfaces of the limbs, body, and head are smooth. Large, flat tubercles are arranged in dense groups at the back of the thigh and around the vent. Nidirana yaoica has a pair of subgular vocal sacs on the lower part of the throat (Lyu et al. 2019).

The forelimbs of N. yaoica are sturdily built, with a lower arm length of 19% and a hand length of 27% that of the snout-vent length. In contrast, the frog has thin fingers and the following finger formula: II < I < IV < III. Each dilated and elongated finger tip possesses distinct lateroventral grooves that do not meet at the disk tips. Nidirana yaoica have weak lateral fringes located on the inner and outer sides of the fourth, third, and second finger, as well as on the outer side of the first fingers. The hands have no webbing. Under the bases of the third and fourth fingers, there are weak supernumerary tubercles. Additionally, N. yaoica has prominently rounded subarticular tubercles. All three of the palmar tubercles are distinct, prominent, large, and elliptical (Lyu et al. 2019).

The hindlimbs of the frog are sturdy with its foot length and tibia length being 78% and 53% the length of the snout-vent length, respectively. The frog’s heels overlap when the hindlimbs are positioned at right angles relative to the axis of the body. When the leg is adpressed along the body, the tibio-tarsal articulation reaches its nostril. The thin, long toes have relative toe lengths of I < II < V < III < IV. The toe tips appear as elongated ventral callous pads on long, pointed disks. Each toe consists of well-developed lateroventral grooves that do not meet at the disk tips. Unlike the hands, the toes exhibit an average amount of webbing with a webbing formula of I 2 - 2 ½ II 1 ⅔ - 3 III 2 ⅓ - 3 ½ IV 3 ½ - 2 V. The toes also have lateral fringes located on the inner and outer sides that turn into easily observable dermal flaps on the edges of the first and fifth toes. Rounded subarticular tubercles are also observable, as is an elliptical inner metatarsal tubercle, which has a length twice its width. The outer metatarsal tubercle is almost unnoticeable, as it is small and rounded, while the tarsal tubercle and folds are absent in N. yaoica (Lyu et al. 2019).

Nidirana yaoica are substantially different from known congeners by several characteristics. It has a medium sized body with a snout-vent length of 40.4 - 45.9 mm in adult males whereas N. nankunensis has a snout-vent length of 33.3 - 37.1 mm. Its fourth finger is longer than its first finger while the same fingers are equal in length in N. chapaensis. Lateroventral grooves are present on all fingers and toes in N. yaoica, but are unobservable on the first fingers in N. pleuraden, unobservable or slightly visible on the fingers of N. daunchina, and unobservable on the first fingers in N. chapaensis, N. lini, N. nankunensis, N. adenopleura, and N. okinavana. The tibio-tarsal articulation of Nidirana yaoica extends to the nostril while in N. lini it goes past the snout tip. Nidirana yaoica has a pair of subgular vocal sacs, which are not a physical trait in N. okinavana. Nidirana yaoica has nuptial pads, an attribute that is separated into two parts in N. chapaensis, but are absent in N. hainanensis. Although N. yaoica does not have spinules on the dorsal skin, they are an observable characteristic in N. adenopleura, N. lini, and N. pleuraden. Additionally, the advertisement calls of N. yaoica can differentiate it from N. adenopleura, N. daunchina, N. hainanensis and N. nankunensis. Nidirana daunchina and N. nankunensis calls contain different first notes than those of N. yaoica. Nidirana hainanensis calls contain 2 - 4 quickly repeated double-notes, whereas N. yaoica calls contain 1 - 3 quickly repeated identical single notes. Additionally, N. yaoica have call note lengths of 30 - 54 ms while the call note lengths in N. adenopleura last 115 - 252 ms. The first notes of N. daunchina last 162 - 197 ms while in N. nankunensis they last 108 - 135 ms. Notes duration of notes after the first note in N. daunchina last 131 - 150 ms. Breaks between notes last 98 - 213 ms in N. adenopleura, 12 - 166 ms in N. nankunensis, and 212 - 372 ms in N. yaoica (Lyu et al. 2019).

In life, the dorsal surfaces of the head and body in N. yaoica appear as a wide reddish brown longitudinal stripe with a thin white boarder that runs from the snout to the vent, crossing over the yellowish parietal eye. The lateral surfaces of the head, between the nostrils and the temporal regions are black, and the tympanum is dark brown. Nidirana yaoica display multiple colors in the iris with a brownish white in the upper ⅓ and a reddish brown in the lower ⅔. Several black spots can be seen on the eyelids and lower part of its dorsal side. Another reddish-brown mid-dorsal stripe, which starts on the head and and runs to the vent, is edged with wide dark brown stripes. The shoulder and maxillary gland are yellowish white. Both the dorsolateral fold and the area between the ribs and hip of N. yaoica are multi-colored. The upper part of the fold is reddish brown while the lower part is black. However, the upper part of the flank is yellowish brown, accompanied by several irregular black spots and the lower part is a yellowish white. Similarly, its suprabrachial gland is a yellowish brown. The dorsal portions of the forelimbs are reddish brown with irregular black spots and the anterior portions have a black stripe that runs lengthwise. The dorsal surface of the hindlimbs has nonuniform dark brown background colors. Black crossbars appear on hind limbs, with four on the thigh, three on the tibia, and three on the tarsus. Additionally, irregular black marks appear on the upper side of the toes. Both vocal sacs on the lower part of the throat are slightly dark. Both the lips and throat are white. The underside of N. yaoica, including the limbs, is creamy white, with a pink tinge coloring the rear thigh. However, the underside of the hands and feet are pale white, which is disrupted by several large black patches (Lyu et al. 2019).

In preservative, the dorsal surface of N. yaoica is faded relative to its dorsal coloration in life, but the dark brown edges that run along the mid-dorsal stripe become more distinct in preservation. Similarly, the black spots on the entire dorsal surface become more distinct. In the area between the ribs and hip, the dorsal portion is black. Colors on each of the limbs fade and the crossbars on those limbs become more transparent. Fading is observed on the underside of the specimen, while smoky gray markings appear on the throat and bottom of the chest (Lyu et al. 2019).

All live specimens possess similar physical characteristics, with variations in dorsal coloration in life from brown to light brown. Patterning of the mid-dorsal stripe also varies, and the pineal ocellus is not visible in all specimens. The male secondary sexual characteristics include a pair of thin openings at the back of the jaw, two subgular vocal sacs, one light brown nuptial pad on the upper side of the first finger, with unobservable nuptial spinules and an observable suprabrachial gland (Lyu et al. 2019).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Current knowledge of habitat and distribution is restricted only to the location of discovery, Mt. Dayao, Jinxiu, Guangxi, in southern China. Nidirana yaoica live in moist environments specifically, swamps and ponds in subtropical secondary evergreen broadleaved forests (Lyu et al. 2019).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Mating calls by adult males occur from mid-March to late may and take place in the brushwood of the swamp and pond banks they inhabit. Not much else is known regarding the females, tadpoles, behavior, and ecology (Lyu et al. 2019).

Nidirana yaoica calls consist of 1 - 3 quickly repeated identical regular notes, with peak frequencies of 516.8 Hz. Call durations varied based on how many notes were emitted, with single note calls lasting 37 - 51 ms, two-note calls lasting 307 - 454 ms, and three-note calls lasting 565 - 678 ms. The note duration also varied based on how many notes were emitted. In two note calls the first note lasted 36 - 51 ms and second note lasted 30 - 49 ms with an interval of 215 - 372 ms between notes. In three note calls, the first note lasted 42 - 54 ms with a 212 - 250 note interval between it and the second call. The second call lasted 37 - 40 ms with a 222 - 302 ms interval between it and the third, which lasted 35 - 52 ms. Note rise times were shorter in one- and two-note calls, ranging between 1.6 - 17.9 ms. In three-note calls, the first note had a rise time of 3.7 - 13.7 ms while in the latter two notes, the rise times increased to 13.1 - 16.1 ms (Lyu et al. 2019).


Lyu, Z.-T., Mo, Y.-M., Wan, H., Li, Y.-L., Pang, H., Wang, Y.-Y. (2019). “Description of a new species of Music frogs (Anura, Ranidae, Nidirana) from Mt Dayao, southern China.” ZooKeys 858: 109-126.

The newly discovered species is most closely related to N. daunchina with moderate supports using Bayesian Inference and Maximum-Likelihood on 16S and CO1 mitochondrial genes. The two species are sister species of N. chapaensis, and the next closest species is N. hainanensis (Lyu et al. 2019).

The genus,Nidirana, was first proposed by Dubois (1992) as a subgenus. It was elevated to a full genus by Chen et al. (2005), but then went through a period of uncertainty. In 2017, Lyu et al. resurrected the genus based on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses of 16S, 12S, and CO1 mitochondrial genes. The genus is sister to genus, Babina (Lyu et al. 2017).

The species epithet, “yaoica” is based on the species’ type locality of Mt. Dayao in Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County, where the Yao people reside. The suggested English common name is the Mt. Dayao music frog and its Chinese common name is Yao Qin Wa (瑶琴蛙) (Lyu et al. 2019).


Lyu Z.-T, Mo Y.-M, Wan H., Li Y.-Long, Pang H., Wang Y.-Y (2019). ''Description of a new species of Music frogs (Anura, Ranidae, Nidirana) from Mt Dayao, southern China.'' ZooKeys, 858, 109-126. [link]

Lyu Z.-T, Zeng Z.-C, Wang J., Lin C.-Y, Liu Z.-Y, Wang Y.-Y (2017). ''Resurrection of genus Nidirana (Anura: Ranidae) and synonymizing N. caldwelli with N. adenopleura, with description of a new species from China.'' Amphibia-Reptilia, 38(4), 483-502. [link]

Originally submitted by: Leighton Pu (first posted 2019-10-17)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2019-10-21)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2019 Nidirana yaoica: Mt Dayao music frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 30, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 May 2023.

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