AmphibiaWeb - Xenophrys damrei


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Xenophrys damrei Mahony, 2011
family: Megophryidae
subfamily: Megophryinae
genus: Xenophrys
Species Description: Mahony S 2011 Two new species of Megophrys Kuhl & van Hasselt (Amphibia: Megophryidae), from western Thailand and southern Cambodia. Zootaxa 2734: 23-39
Xenophrys damrei
© 2022 Thy Neang (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Xenophrys damrei is a bulky, medium-sized frog described from one female and one male specimen, originally collected in 1914. The female specimen has a snout-vent length of 69.1 mm and male has a snout-vent length of 57.1 mm. The snout is dorsally curved, laterally blunt, and bulges beyond the mandible. It lacks a rostral appendage. The dorsal portion of the snout is depressed in shape. The eyes of this species are larger than its tympanum but shorter than its snout. The skin is smooth. The body is wider in length than it is long. The arms are noticeably long and thin, and the fingers are long in length and thin. The relative finger lengths are IV < I < II < III with tips that subtly widen and compress without disks or terminal grooves. The hind limbs are distinguishably long and narrow, and the thigh length is slightly shorter than the tibia but longer than the foot. The toes appear to be long and thin and the relative toe lengths are IV < II < I < III. The toe tips are slightly expanded and compressed but do not have disks (Mahony 2011).

Xenophrys damrei was originally described as a member of the genus Megophrys, however it, along with many other species, has since been placed in another genus. Comparisons in the original species description included twelve species from southeast Asia that were then considered Megophrys. The adult male X. damrei is larger than Panophrys brachykolos, Panophrys kuatunensis, Panophrys minor, Xenophrys pachyproctus, and Xenophrys parva, which have body sizes of less than 50 mm. Xenophrys damrei lacks a palpebral horn, unlike Pelobatrachus nasuta, Xenophrys aceras, and Xenophrys longipes, which have a palpebral horn. While Oreolalax jingdongensis possesses extensive webbing between the toes, X. damrei has only rudimentary webbing. Oreolalax major has a continuous white upper lip stripe and wide lateral fringes on its toes that X. damrei lacks, an entire dark upper eyelid while X. damrei has two large light patches on a dark upper eyelid, and the presence of a wide band of asperities ventrally on the lower jaw, while X. damrei has only a few asperities positioned ventrally at the rear of the jaw (Mahony 2011).

Xenophrys damrei is most similar to Xenophrys auralensis and Xenophrys lekaguli. Xenophrys damrei differs from X. auralensis by a smaller adult male body size, absence (rather than presence in X. auralensis) of lateral fringes on fingers and toes, presence (rather than absence in X. auralensis) of vomerine teeth, and finger IV < II (rather than II < IV in X. auralensis). Xenophrys damrei differs from X. lekaguli by a wider head, a strongly oblique temporal region from the edge of the mandible to the supratympanic fold (as opposed to a vertical temporal region in X. lekaguli), notched tongue (rather than not notched in X. lekaguli), visible portion of the oval tympanum obliquely orientated with approximately 5 - 10% of the upper border of the tympanum concealed by the supratympanic ridge (as opposed to the oval tympanum orientated vertically with approximately 30% of the upper portion concealed by the supratympanic ridge in X. lekaguli), and a few asperites positioned ventrally at the rear of the jaw (as opposed to a narrow row of asperites positioned ventrally on the lower jaw in X. lekaguli) (Mahony 2011).

Xenophrys damrei in preservative has a marbled chestnut brown color on the dorsal surface of its head and back. There is a substantial dark brown triangle-shaped marking between its orbits, and there is a dark brown curving marking on its dorsum. Larger flank tubercles are light in the centers and lined outwardly by dark brown. Edges of the eyelids are dark brown. The dark brown chest marbles and fades into blotches covering the abdomen. The external surfaces of hands are colored in a convoluted grey-brown. The pectoral and femoral glands are colored white, and the pectoral gland is ringed by a dark color (Mahony 2011).

In life, X. damrei has a yellowish-orange color on the upper arms with dark marbled grey on the posterior dorsum and upper surface of the thighs and shanks (Neang et al. 2013).

Patterning varies in X. damrei. The dorsal hourglass markings can be reduced to a thin “Y” connecting to an inverted “V” shape. The shanks can have faint dark barring marks, and the entire ventral surface of the throat, chest and abdomen can have slight, dim speckles in areas with dark pigmentation (Mahony 2011).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cambodia

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Xenophrys damrei is found on the Bokor Plateau in the southeast Cardamom Mountains of southern Cambodia. The habitat of this plateau is described as variable with grassland, forest, sandstone processes, and evergreen forest. The mid to lower slopes of the plateau are concealed with a low canopy combined with deciduous, evergreen, and occasional coniferous trees. The plateau is 1000 meters above sea level in the Kampot District and Kampot Province (Mahony 2011).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Xenophrys damrei is found in evergreen forests and near rocky streams with small pools (IUCN 2016). During field studies, X. damrei was found at night on leaf litter, at the base of plants, on boulders near stream banks, and next to water seepages from streams. Other individuals were heard calling from leaf litter in hill evergreen forest approximately 10 meters from rocky streams (Neang et al. 2013).

Xenophrys damrei is thought to have indirect development with an aquatic larval stage (IUCN 2016). The species is not thought to breed between May and July, as researchers did not find tadpoles belonging to the species during field searches in those months (Mahony 2011).

Trends and Threats
Xenophrys damrei is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List due to its small area of existence and declining quality and size of known habitat. Although little information is available about the size of X. damrei’s population, the species is thought to be declining due to threats within its known habitat and surrounding areas. Although the entire known range of X. damrei occurs within Preah Monivong Bokor National Park, the species is threatened by tourism development, illegal timber harvesting, and illegal charcoal production which lead to habitat loss and degradation (IUCN 2016).

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
Habitat fragmentation


As of 2022, no phylogenetic analysis has been directly conducted with X. damrei. There has however been controversy regarding the genus placement with Chen et al. (2017) arguing for splitting Megophrys into several genera and Mahony et al. (2017), arguing for a single genus, Megophrys, with several subgenera.

Phylogenetic analyses indicate that, within the Megophryidae family, the Megophryinae subfamily diverged approximately 55 million years ago, and is sister to the Leptobrachiinae subfamily. Megophryidae itself was found to be most closely related to the Pelobatidae family, having split around 83 million years ago (Mahony et. al. 2017).

The species epithet, “damrei” is based on the anuran’s type locality: the Elephant Mountains are known as Chuor Phnum Dâmrei in Khmer, with “damrei” translating to "elephant" (Mahony 2011).

Xenophrys dameri was originally described as Megophrys damrei (Mahony 2011).

Mahony’s (2011) description of Xenophrys damrei as an individual species is based on preserved specimens (collected in 1914) misidentified as Megophrys parva from historical collections given to The Natural History Museum, London by Malcom A. Smith. At the time of the description, 2011, there had been no confirmed record of X. damrei either in field surveys or as preserved specimens since those collected in 1914 that were used to describe the species. Mahony (2011) speculated that previous field surveys’ inability to observe X. damrei individuals may be related to a temporal mismatch: while the 1914 specimens were collected in March and April, more recent studies have taken place only in May and July. In October 2012, however, Neang et al. (2013) rediscovered the species in the Bokor National Park 99 years after its last confirmed specimen. In addition to observing a number of individuals visually and acoustically, field researchers captured the first known photograph of a live X. damrei specimen.


Chen, J.-M., Zhou, W.-w., Poyarkov, Jr., N. A., Stuart, B. L., Brown, R. M., Lathrop, A., Wang, Y., Yuan, Z.-y., Jiang, K., Hou, M., Chen, H.-m., Suwannapoom, C., Nguyen, S. N., Duong, T. V., Papenfuss, T. J., Murphy, R. W., Zhang, Y.-p., Che, J. (2017). "A novel multilocus phylogenetic estimation reveals unrecognized diversity in Asian horned toads, genus Megophrys sensu lato (Anura: Megophryidae)." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 106: 28–43. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2016). "Megophrys damrei." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T48101780A48101799. Downloaded on 19 February 2021.

Mahony, S. (2011). “Two new species of Megophrys Kuhl & van Hasselt (Amphibia: Megophryidae), from western Thailand and southern Cambodia.” Zootaxa, 2734, 23-39. [link]

Mahony, S., Foley, N. M., Biju, S. D., Teeling, E. C. (2017). “Evolutionary history of the Asian horned frogs (Megophryinae): Integrative approaches to timetree dating in the absence of a fossil record.” Molecular Biology and Evolution, 34(3), 744-771. [link]

Neang, T., Chhin, S., Meang, M., Hun, S. (2013). “Confirmation of three species of megophryid frogs (Amphibia: Megophryidae) from the Cardamom Mountains of Southwest Cambodia, with the rediscovery of a long lost species.” Cambodia Journal of Natural History, 2013(2), 66-72. [link]

Originally submitted by: Jessica Beskind, Kailea Hieshima, Char Ritchie (2022-02-17)
Description by: Jessica Beskind, Kailea Hieshima, Char Ritchie (updated 2022-02-17)
Distribution by: Jessica Beskind, Kailea Hieshima, Char Ritchie (updated 2022-02-17)
Life history by: Jessica Beskind, Kailea Hieshima, Char Ritchie (updated 2022-02-17)
Trends and threats by: Jessica Beskind, Kailea Hieshima, Char Ritchie (updated 2022-02-17)
Comments by: Jessica Beskind, Kailea Hieshima, Char Ritchie (updated 2022-02-17)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-02-17)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Xenophrys damrei <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jun 2024.

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