Rhacophorus spelaeus
family: Rhacophoridae
subfamily: Rhacophorinae
Species Description: Orlov NL, Gnophanxay S, Phimminith T, Phomphoumy K 2010 A new species of Rhacophorus (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae:Rhacophorinae) from Khammouan Province, Lao PDR. Russian J Herpetology 16:295-303

© 2018 Peter Brakels (1 of 7)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Vulnerable (VU)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Lao People's Democratic Republic



View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

From the IUCN Red List Species Account:


Range Description

This species is known only from 140 m asl within the Ban Doy Community and Ban Konglo, in and around the boundaries of Khammouane Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation Area, Khammouane Province, Laos (Orlov et al. 2009). This species has highly specific habitat requirements (Orlov et al. 2009) so its range is restricted to this habitat type and is is not expected to be widespread throughout its mapped range. Its estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) is 7,534 km2, which represents one threat-defined location. 

Habitat and Ecology

This species is associated with limestone karst caves with running water in sparsely vegetated areas (Orlov et al. 2009). Little is known about the quality of the species' habitat, as habitat loss or disturbance has not been reported, but may be occurring in some areas due to limestone mining, grazing livestock and the collection of firewood (Clements et al. 2006, Woxvold 2009). The species' call and reproductive biology are also unknown, however it is expected to have a free-living aquatic larval stage, as do other Rhacophorus for which the reproductive strategy is known.


No information is currently known on the population size, except that it was described from three individuals and that an unknown number of individuals were observed in the previous year (Orlov et al. 2009). This species' population is thought to be decreasing outside of well-protected areas.

Population Trend


Major Threats

Habitat loss associated with intensifying agriculture is a major threat to biodiversity in the region (Sodhi et al. 2010), but this species is known from a protected area characterized by karst landscapes, so this may not be an immediate threat to its persistence. However, the species is also thought to occur outside this protected area so it may be affected by known threats to other limestone karst environments in southeast Asia such as habitat disturbance caused by limestone mining, grazing livestock and the collection of firewood (Clements et al. 2006, Woxvold 2009).

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is known from the Khammouane Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation Area. 

Research Needed
Addressing the lack of data is the first step towards ensuring the species' survival; further research on its range, population size and abundance, and threats would inform conservation decisions.

Red List Status

Vulnerable (VU)


Listed as Vulnerable as this species has an estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of only 7,534 km2 and occurs in only two threat-defined locations. The species' range is very restricted and the quality of its habitat is in estimated to be in decline.


IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Rhacophorus spelaeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T48100899A48100903. .Downloaded on 23 February 2019


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