M 16-18 mm. Tympanum 1/3-2/3 of eye diameter. Toe 3 longer than toe 5. Skin smooth with a number of larger tubercles. Typically two pairs of large tubercles on the lower back, of which the upper pair is of white colour. Dorsally brown with some darker spots and markings, a dark band along the anterior flanks (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Similar species: Platypelis tuberifera also has pairs of whitish tubercles on the back but is much larger (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar
Located in Anjanaharibe-Sud, Besariaka, Masoala (Glaw and Vences 2007) at 600-1250m asl (Andreone 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Habits: Found in Pandanus plants, both hiding in leaf axils and calling at night. Therefore most probably this species breeds in Pandanus leaf axils (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Calls: A short click note, repeated after short regular intervals, reminding the calls of species of Anodonthyla (Glaw and Vences 2007).
Trends and Threats
Listed as endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 5000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in northeastern Madagascar (Andreone 2008).
Though it occurs in protected areas such as Parc National de Marojejy, the Réserve Spéciale d’Anjanaharibe-Sud, and possibly the Parc National de Masoalam it is losing its habitat due to subsistence agriculture, timber extraction, charcoal manufacture, livestock grazing, and expanding human settlements. It is probably particularly sensitive to the collection of screw pines, which are used for making the roofs of huts (Andreone 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat
The word “tetra” is derived from the Greek “tetras” means “four” and is attributed to the fact that most specimens show four lighter spots on the back. This name is used as a noun with the same meaning.
Taken with permission from Glaw and Vences (2007) and Andreone (2008).
Andreone, F. (2008). Platypelis tetra. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 April 2009.
Glaw, F., and Vences, M. (2007). Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Vences and Glaw Verlag, Köln.
Originally submitted by: Franco Andreone, Dante B. Fenolio, Mark E. Walvoord (first posted 2004-06-05)
Trends and threats by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-03-17)
Comments by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-03-17)
Edited by: Catherine Aguilar (2021-03-17)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Platypelis tetra: Four-spotted tree cophyline frog (English) <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/6260> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 16, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 16 Apr 2021.
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