Burmese Camouflaged Tree Frog
Species Description: Dever JA. 2017. A new cryptic species of the Theloderma asperum Complex (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Myanmar. Journal of Herpetology 51: 425–436.
The dorsal skin is coarse and densely covered in calcified, pin-point sized asperities. The chin is also covered with asperities, but less densely than the dorsum and the ventrum is granular with dense clumps of smaller asperities (Dever 2017).
The distance from the elbow of the forearm to the tip of the third finger is slightly more than half the snout-vent length. The palms do not have inner or outer metacarpal tubercles or any supernumerary tubercles. The unwebbed fingers have large oval discs that range from expanded to transverse and have circummarginal and transverse grooves. The relative finger lengths are III > IV > II > I with the third finger having the largest disc. There are small, protruding subarticular tubercles along the mid-ventral ridge of the fingers with one tubercle on fingers I and II, and two on fingers III and IV. Nuptial pads are present (Dever 2017).
Theloderma pyaukkya has long legs with heels that overlap when the legs are at 90 degree angles to the body. The tibia is more than half the snout-vent length. When the leg is adpressed to the body, the tibiotarsal articulation almost reaches the snout. There is no outer metatarsal tubercle, but the inner metatarsal tubercle protrudes and is oval. The webbed and fringed toes have discs, which are smaller than the fingers, with circummmarginal and transverse grooves. The webbing formula for the toes is 1 – 1 1/3 II 1 – 1 1/3 III 1 – 1IV 1 – 1V. The toe fringes reach the discs on all toes except for toe IV. There is one subarticular tubercle on toes I and II, two on toes III and V, and three on toe IV (Dever 2017).
Like others in their genus, T. pyaukkya can be differentiated from other genera because of their calcified tuberculate skin, Y-shaped terminal phalanges, and a distinct and visible tympanum. A small body size differentiates T. pyaukkya from T. bicolor, T. corticale, T. gordoni, T. horridum, T. leporosum, T. nagalandense, T. phrynoderma, and T. ryabovi. From other small-bodied Theloderma, T. pyaukkya can be differentiated by coloration and morphological characters. More specifically, T. pyaukkya is distinguishable from the similarly appearing T. albopunctatum by having punctuated asperities on its dorsal surface, where the latter has relatively smoother skin. From T. andersoni, T. pyaukkya is unique in having completely webbed toes. From T. annae, T. pyaukkya can be differentiated by having a uniform red iris. Male T. pyaukkya possess a pair of vocal sac openings that, in conjunction with dermal asperities on the dorsum, differentiates it from the similarly appearing T. asperum. Theloderma pyaukka is distinguished from T. babengense by the former having a cream colored dorsum with dark brown markings. Ventral patterning differentiates T. pyaukkya from the uniform venter of T. lacustrinum. From T. lateriticum and T. laeve, T. pyaukkya is differentiated by dorsal coloration and patterning. Theloderma pyaukkya is further distinguished from T. laeve by the former having complete toe webbing. From T. licin, T. pyaukkya is differentiated by the absence of dermal fringes on the fingers. The presence of vomerine teeth, cream-colored digital discs, and a uniform red iris distinguish T. pyaukkya from T. nebulosum. Dorsal coloration differentiates T. pyaukka from T. palliatum. The lack of vomerine teeth differentiates the focal species from T. petilum. Disc coloration differentiates T. pyaukka from T. rhododiscus. Lastly, dorsal coloration and patterning differentiate the focal species from T. stellatum, T. truongsonense, and T. vietnamense (Dever 2017).
In life, the background color of the head, dorsum, and tips of the asperities is a light cream to white coloration. Dark brown irregular patches are found between and below the eyes extending to the tympanum. The eyes are round with rust-colored irises and horizontal pupils. The light cream, white coloration continues down the sides and the lateral region of the dorsum, but is interrupted by the distinct dark brown patch that comes to a point mid-dorsally between the light cream shoulders. Posteriorly, an irregular, creamy white blotch near the urostyle extends to the thigh and tibia. The fingers have dark-brown transverse bands that circumvent the forearms. The relatively long legs have irregular dark brown banding alternating with lighter bands. The feet and fully webbed toes have dark, distinct, transverse banding. Ventrally, the thighs and pectoral region possess a brown coloration with white marbling. The palms, tubercles of the metacarpal and metatarsal, and the nuptial pads are light cream. The fingers and the toe pads are red rust in color like the eyes, but have the additional hints of gold speckling that break up the monotony (Dever 2017).
There is some color and pattern variation between specimens. An adult male specimen had gold coloration on lateral sides and another adult male specimen had beige pectoral region medially marked with an X-shaped pattern was found in the Kachin State of northern Myanmar. Lastly, another adult male specimen found in Chin State of western Myanmar had a lighter coloration on the head and a cloudier, less distinctive back pattern (Dever 2017).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Bayesian analysis of 16S and COI mitochondrial DNA and BNDF, Rho, SIA, and Tyr nuclear genes sequences confirmed the genetic distinctiveness of T. pyaukkya. Further analysis of the mitochondrial DNA sequences confirmed the species’ membership in the T. asperum complex and showed a sister relationship to a clade composed of T. asperum and T. licin. The clade compose of those three species was found to be sister with T. albopunctatum (Dever 2017).
The Burmese-derived epithet, “pyaukkya” (pronciation: pee-ew-cha), means “camouflaged”, referencing the cryptic coloration the frog elicits (Dever 2017).
Dever, J.A. (2017). ''A new cryptic species of the Theloderma asperum complex (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Myanmar.'' Journal of Herpetology, 51(3), 425-436.
Written by Tracy T. Tran (tracytheotran AT gmail.com), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2018-08-20
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2018-08-20)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Theloderma pyaukkya: Burmese Camouflaged Tree Frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/8664> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 23, 2020.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Jan 2020.
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