AmphibiaWeb - Odorrana sangzhiensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Odorrana sangzhiensis Zhang, Li, Hu & Yang, 2021
Sangzhi Odorous Frog, Sang Zhi Chou Wa (Chinese)
family: Ranidae
genus: Odorrana
Species Description: Zhang B, Li Y, Hu K, Li P,Gu Z, Xiao N, Yang D. 2021. A new species of Odorrana (Anura, Ranidae) from Hunan Province, China. ZooKeys 1024: 91–115.

AmphibiaChina 中国两栖类.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Odorrana sangzhiensis is a medium-sized frog described from two males and three females. The male snout-vent length range is 42.1 - 45.2 mm and the female snout-vent length range is 83.3 - 92.7 mm. The head of these frogs is longer than it is wide and flat on top. From a dorsal view, the snout is obtusely rounded and protrudes out further than the lower jaw. The internarial distance is approximately 1.36 times larger than the interorbital distance and the nasal margin is close to the end of the snout. The eyes are large and bulbous with a loreal region that is deeply curved. The tympanum is large, round, obvious, encircled by granules, and has a diameter that is approximately 65% of the diameter of the eye. Along the body, the skin is covered in dense granules, giving it a rough texture, as well as several warts on the frogs sides and back. There are no dorsolateral folds. There are spines on the ventral surface and throat of the males. The forelimbs are described as sturdy, with the width being almost a quarter of the length. The total length of these limbs including the hands is slightly longer than half of the snout-vent length. There are two oval metacarpal tubercles. The relative finger lengths are I ≤ II < IV < III, and each finger has an expanded tip, but no webbing between the digits. The fingertips have circular discs with tops that have been narrowed as well as circum-marginal grooves. There are two subarticular tubercles per digit, along with a smaller supernumerary tubercle at the base of the digit. The first finger of each hand also has a nuptial pad in males. The hind limbs are long and have heels that overlap noticeably when they are held at right angles to the body. And when adpressed along the body, the tibiotarsal articulation reaches beyond the snout tip. The tibia length and the foot length are just over half of the snout-vent length, with the foot being slightly longer than the tibia. This species lacks both inner tarsal and metatarsal folds. There is an elliptical inner metatarsal tubercle, but no outer metatarsal tubercle. The toes are long and slim with a relative toe length of I < II < III < V < IV. All of the toes are fully webbed out to the discs of the toes and have prominent subarticular tubercles. There are also indistinct lateral fringes on Toes I and V. The toe discs are the same sizes as the finger discs, but the toe discs have conspicuous horizontal grooves on the dorsal surface (Zhang et al. 2021).

Odorrana sangzhiensis is a member of the O. schmackeri complex, along with O. hejiangensis, O. huanggangensis, O. kweichowensis, O. schmackeri and O. tianmuii, but can be differentiated from all of them by O. sangzhiensis having a longer relative hind limb length; its tibiotarsal reaches beyond the tip of the snout when adpressed along the body while the other species do not extend beyond the nostrils. More specifically, O. sangzhiensis has smaller males than O. hejiangensis and larger females than O. kweichowensis. While the head is always longer than wide in O. sangzhiensis, it can be or is almost equal in length and width in O. hejiangensis, O. huanggangensis, and O. schmackeri. The two metacarpal tubercles in O. sangzhiensis differentiate it from O. hejiangensis, O. huanggangensis, and O. tianmuii, which have three, and O. schmackeri, which has an indistinct outer metacarpal tubercle. The relative finger lengths of O. sangzhiensis include a shorter first than second finger, however, in O. hejiangensis, O. huanggangensis, and O. schmackeri the second finger is shorter than the first. Meanwhile, the relative toe lengths of O. sangzhiensis include a a third toe that is shorter than the fifth, but in O. huanggangensis, O. schmackeri, and O. tianmuii the third and fifth toes are about equal. Lastly, the temporal fold in O. sangzhiensis is not obvious, but it is prominent in O. schmackeri (Zhang et al. 2021, please see the article for more comparisons).

In life, this species has a yellow-green dorsal surface on its body and head, with dark brown spots that are dispersed intermittently across the entire surface. These spots, which lack light rings, are small on the head and get larger as they move towards the center of the back. The spots become smaller and less dark as they move down the sides to the light yellow ventral surface. There are spines of a pale color on the ventral surface and throat of the males. In the region of the head, both the upper and lower lips have vertical brown bars and a brown supratympanic fold. There is a small beige dot located between the anterior corners of the eyes. The dorsal surface of all four limbs are also yellow-green with transverse brown bands along the arms and four brown bands along the thigh and tibial region. The widths of these bands as well as the distance between each band is variable and depends on the individual (Zhang et al. 2021).

Once preserved in alcohol, the vibrant colors fade. The dark brown spots along the dorsal surface turns to a dark grey and the green and yellow-green skin becomes a grey-blue coloration. On the upper and lower lips, the brown bars fade into a dark grey, and the beige dot in the anterior corners of the eyes becomes white. Additionally, the ventral body surface changes from a pale yellow into a cream or white and the undersides of all limbs turn brown or beige (Zhang et al. 2021).

This species of frog exhibits sexual dimorphism most notably in the difference in snout-vent length between males and females. Males are roughly half that of the females. Additionally, when compared to snout-vent length, the ratio of eye diameter, head length, maximum head width, inter-orbital distance, maximal tympanum diameter, and lower arm width are all found to be much smaller in females than in males. Lastly, females exhibit slightly different coloration patterns from males in that some females have a greater number and denser brown spots on their dorsal surfaces as well as a yellow-white coloration on their limbs instead of the yellow-green color on the limbs of the males (Zhang et al. 2021).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
At the time of the species description, O. shangzhiensis was only known from one mixed montane forest stream locality in the north eastern part of the Wuling mountain range near Zhangjiajie City, Sangzhi County, which is in the northwestern of the Hunan province of China near the Hubei border. This species was found at 540 m a.s.l. (Zhang et al. 2021).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The type specimens of this species were found in a canyon stream, sitting on rocks along the stream banks (Zhang et al. 2021).

These frogs are nocturnal and hide during the day (Zhang et al. 2021).

The breeding period for O. sangzhiensis is likely between July and August. During that time, reproductive behavior was observed, showing axillary amplexus, and one female specimen was found to contain mature eggs in her body. However, no tadpoles or egg masses were found at the time of the species description (Zhang et al. 2021).

The mature eggs found within one of the females were yellow-white color when preserved (Zhang et al. 2021).

A mix of both deciduous and coniferous trees, shrubs, and other plants can be found alongside both sides of the stream the species was found in. The dominant tree species are Ulmus changii, Castanopsis carlesii, and Sloanea hemsleyana. The dominant shrub species are Boehmeria penduliflora and Distylium myricoides. There is also an abundance of herbaceous Pilea sinofasciata, Strobilanthes dimorphotricha, and Miscanthus floridulus (Zhang et al. 2021).

Amolops ricketti can be found in sympatry with O. shangzhiensis (Zhang et al. 2021).

Trends and Threats
The construction of a hydropower station in the region where this species is found is a serious threat to the species habitat (Zhang et al. 2021). This station is most likely the Jiangya Dam, which is located in northeast Zhangjiajie in the Hunan Province. These dams restrict the natural flow of water which alters the ecosystem in which these frogs live and can have a significant detriment on the species. However, with such a low number of the population discovered, it is hard to get a good estimate of how severe this issue may be.


Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference on partial 12S and 16S mtDNA found that the sister clade to O. sangzhiensis are O. hejiangensis and a species assumed to be O. nanjiangensis. Both O. sangzhiensis and O. hejiangensis are grouped within the O. schmackeri species complex, which also contains O. huanggangensis, O. kweichowensis, O. schmackeri, O. tianmuii, and potentially other cryptic species. The genus, Odorrana included a total of 59 species at the time of the species description, and is within the family Ranidae (Zhang et al. 2021).

The species epithet, “sangzhiensis,” refers to the location in which this species was first observed. Because of this, the researchers who have described this species have also offered Sang Zhi Chou Wa as the species’ Chinese name (Zhang et al. 2021).

Zhang, B., Li, Y., Hu, K., Li, P.,Gu, Z., Xiao, N., Yang, D. (2021). A new species of Odorrana (Anura, Ranidae) from Hunan Province, China. ZooKeys 1024, 91–115. [link]

Originally submitted by: Parker Hamilton (2023-08-01)
Description by: Parker Hamilton, Ann T. Chang (updated 2023-08-01)
Distribution by: Parker Hamilton (updated 2023-08-01)
Life history by: Parker Hamilton (updated 2023-08-01)
Trends and threats by: Parker Hamilton (updated 2023-08-01)
Comments by: Parker Hamilton (updated 2023-08-01)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2023-08-01)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Odorrana sangzhiensis: Sangzhi Odorous Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 19, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 May 2024.

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