Rhacophorus taipeianus is a medium-sized species of frog, with males ranging from 35-45 mm SVL, and females measuring 45-55 mm (Liang and Wang 1978). The snout is rounded and protrudes in profile (Liang and Wang 1978). The tympanum is not clearly defined and is obscured by a layer of skin (Chou et al. 1997). Webbing is present on both hands and feet (Liang and Wang 1978). Toes have expanded discs (Liang and Wang 1978). Skin texture is smooth (though granular: Chou et al. 2007). The pupil is horizontal (Liang and Wang 1978). Males have a single gular pouch (Liang and Wang 1978).
Dorsal coloration is green. These frogs are capable of metachrosis and can change color from dark brown to light green. Patterning varies, with some individuals having white, yellow, or blue spots. Ventral coloration is yellow, with some brown spots, and the abdomen is yellowish white. Inner thighs have some dark brown spotting. The iris is yellow (Liang and Wang 1978). Anterior and posterior of the thighs are yellow (Chou et al. 2007).
This species can be distinguished from other Taiwanese Rhacophorus by the presence of a green supratympanic fold, along with the lack of palmar tubercles, the absence of black spots on the flank, and the absence of white spots on the dorsum (Lue et al. 1994).
Tadpole coloration is grayish white and the body is oval-shaped. Tadpole tails are thin and long, with sparse dots (Chou and Lin 1997).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Taiwan
Rhacophorus taipeianus is endemic to Taiwan. Distribution is limited to northern and central Taiwan in elevations under 1500m. Adult frogs usually live in forests on the lower branches of trees. During breeding season, they move to rice paddies and ponds near the forests (Yang and Lin 1988).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Adult frogs are faithful to their breeding pond, so genetic differences among different geographical populations exist (Yang et al. 1994). Breeding season for mountainous frogs occurs from October to March, and is usually initiated by rainfall (Yang and Lin 1988). Breeding season for lower elevation frogs is usually shorter, from December to February (Yang and Lin 1988).
Males call from nests consisting of muddy depressions which they dig themselves, under piles of rice straw, or grasses along banks by still water. Males may wrestle each other in territorial combat. Females prefer large-sized males with a low mating call, and have been reported to mate with up to four males (Kuramoto 1986; Yang and Lin 1988; Liang and Wang 1978).
The advertisement call is pulsed and consists of 1-2 notes, low and monotonous, but in a chorus the call is 3-4 notes "Ge-Ge-Ge", sometimes followed by a series of "coughs". If a female approaches the courtship call is up to ten notes. Each note has a duration of 1.6s. Calls have a fundamental frequency of 1.7 kHz as well as two weak harmonics at 3.5 kHz and 5.3 kHz (Kuramoto 1986).
Clutches are oviposited in the muddy depressions (nests) from which the males call (Kuramoto 1986). During mating, females create egg foams by mixing mucus and semen with their hind legs. The egg foam covers the clutch of 300-400 white eggs and keeps the eggs humid. Tadpoles take one to two weeks to hatch from eggs. After the tadpoles hatch, the nest serves as a small pond, providing the tadpoles with nutrients for about 40 days. The rainy season then washes the tadpoles into lakes (Yang and Lin 1988).
Trends and Threats
The main threat to this species is the decreasing area of paddy fields used for breeding, due to changes in cultivated crops (Kuangyang and Wenhao 2008). It occurs in at least one protected area, Yangmingshan National Park (Yang et al. 1994).
Chou, W.-H., Lau, M. W.-N., and Chan, B. P. L. (2007). ''A new treefrog of the genus Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Hainan Island, China.'' The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 55, 157-165.
Chou, W.-H., and Lin, J.-Y. (1997). ''Tadpoles of Taiwan.'' National Museum of Natural Science, Special Publication (Taichung), 7, 1-98.
Kuangyang, L., and Wenhao, C. (2008). Rhacophorus taipeianus. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 02 February 2009.
Kuramoto, M. (1986). ''Call structures of the rhacophorid frogs from Taiwan.'' Scientific Report of the Laboratory for Amphibian Biology (Hiroshima University) , 8, 45-68.
Liang, Y.-S. and Wang, C.-S. (1978). ''Variation in mitochondrial DNA and population structure of the Taipei treefrog Rhacophorus taipeianus in Taiwan.'' Quarterly Journal of the Taiwan Museum, 31(186).
Lue, K.-Y., Lai, J.-S., and Chen, S.-L. (1994). '' A new species of Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Taiwan.'' Herpetologica, 50, 303-308.
Yang, Y.-J., Lin, Y.-S., Wu, J.-L., and Hui, C.-F. (1994). ''Variation in mitochondrial DNA and population structure of the Taipei treefrog Rhacophorus taipeianus in Taiwan.'' Molecular Ecology, 3, 219-228.
Yang, Y.-J., and Lin, Y.-S. (1988). ''The nest-building behavior of Rhacophorus taipeianus in Mian-Tain Mountain of North Taiwan.'' Chinese Bioscience, 32, 15-25.
Yang, Y.-J., and Lin, Y.-S. (1991). ''Social behavior of Rhacophorus taipeianus during the breeding season.'' Presented at the 22nd International Ethological Conference, Kyoto, Japan.
Written by David Chen (davidchen AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2008-05-01
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2009-04-28)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Rhacophorus taipeianus: Taipei Green Tree Frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/4538> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 21, 2019.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Apr 2019.
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