AmphibiaWeb - Leptobrachella suiyangensis


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Leptobrachella suiyangensis Luo, Xiao, Gao & Zhou, 2020
Suiyang Leaf-litter Toad, Chinese: Sui Yang Zhang Tu Chan (绥阳掌突蟾)
family: Megophryidae
subfamily: Leptobrachiinae
genus: Leptobrachella
Species Description: Luo T, Xiao N, Gao K, Zhou J 2020 A new species of Leptobrachella (Anura, Megophryidae) from Guizhou Province, China. ZooKeys 923:115-140.

AmphibiaChina logo AmphibiaChina 中国两栖类.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Leptobrachella suiyangensis is a small frog with a male snout-vent length range of 28.7 - 29.7 mm and female snout-vent length range of 30.5 - 33.5 mm. The head is a little longer than it is wide. The snout protrudes slightly over the margin of the lower jaw. The nostrils are closer to the snout than the eye. The internarial distance is just slightly smaller than the interorbital distance. The canthus rostralis has a gentle roundness and the loreal region is somewhat concave. The interorbital region is flat and longer than the upper eyelid, which has small tubercles. The pupil is vertical, and the eye diameter is slightly smaller than the snout length. The concave tympanum is distinct, round, and has a smaller diameter than the eye. The distance from the eye to the tympanum is shorter than the tympanum diameter. The rim of the tympanum is raised. The distinct supratympanic ridge, which extends from the eye to the supra-axillary gland, has some indistinct tubercles. The dorsal skin is rough with fine, round granules that form small longitudinal ridges. Also, this species has easily seen ventrolateral glands, but no warts or nodules on the dorsal surface. The skin on the ventrum is smooth. The glands on the pectoral, supra-axillary, femoral, and ventrolateral regions are distinct. Specifically, the pectoral gland is large, oval, and elongated. The supra-axillary gland is raised and slightly smaller in diameter than the femoral gland. The femoral gland is small, round, and located on the posteroventral surface of the thigh, nearer to the tibiotarsal articulation than the vent. The ventrolateral glands are small and form an incomplete line. On the hands, the inner metacarpal tubercle is large, round, elevated, and distinctly separated from the smaller outer metacarpal tubercle, which is also round. The relative finger lengths are I < II < IV < III, and the tips are slightly swollen and rounded. No webbing, lateral dermal fringes, subarticular tubercles, or nuptial pads are present on the fingers. The hind limbs are relatively short. When the hind limb is adpressed along the body the tibiotarsal articulation reaches the anterior of the eye. When the hind limbs are held at right angles to the body, the heels touch. The tibia is slightly less than half of the snout-vent length. The inner metatarsal tubercle is large and oval. There is no outer metatarsal tubercle. The relative toe lengths are I < II < V < III < IV and the toe tips are rounded and slightly swollen. Rudimentary webbing and weak lateral fringes are present on the toes. There are also distinct dermal ridges on the ventral side of toes III - V, which are interrupted at the articulations. No subarticular tubercles are present (Luo et al. 2020).

This species has similarities with other members of the Leptobrachella genus but also has some distinguishing features. More specifically, L. suiyangensis is closely related L. alpina and L. purpurus, however, L. suiyangensis has a larger male body size than L. alpina (24.0 - 26.4 mm) and L. purpurus (25.0 - 27.5 mm), and has narrower lateral fringes on the male toes (L. alpina’s and L. purpurus’s are wide in males). Furthermore, L. suiyangensis has purple-brown-gray dorsal coloring instead of the gray-brown color seen in L. alpina, and the purple-brown with dull white (with hard-to-see gray) coloration on the ventrum of L. purpurus. Additionally, L. suiyangensis has a chest and abdomen that are light yellow instead of a milky white with brown spotting on the margins as seen in L. alpina. Leptobrachella suiyangensis also has ventrolateral glands with tiny white spots that slowly become an incomplete line (instead of tiny white spots becoming a complete line in L. alpina). The coloration of the pectoral gland in L. suiyangensis is orange-yellow, which differs from white bordered gland seen in L. alpina. Moreover, the head is longer than it is wide compared to L. alpina, where the head length is equal to the head width. Leptobrachella suiyangensis has a gray throat and darker orange/yellow upper front limbs compared to L. purpurus, which has a pink throat and copper orange upper front limbs. Also, the tibiotarsal articulation touches the anterior of the eye in L suiyangensis, while the tibiotarsal articulation touches the posterior corner of the eye in L. purpurus. The relative finger lengths of L. suiyangensis are I < II < IV < III vs. I = II = IV < III in L. purpurus. From other species, L. suiyangensis has supra-axillary and ventrolateral glands while L. arayai, L. dringi, L. fritinniens, L. gracilis, L. hamidi, L. heteropus, L. kajangensis, L. kecil, L. marmorata, L. maura, L. melanoleuca, L. picta, L. platycephala, L. sabahmontana and L. sola do not (Luo et al. 2020). Lastly, the presence of toe webbing and heels that overlap when the thighs are at right angles to the body in L. suiyangensis differentiate it from L. jinshaensis (Cheng et al. 2021). For more comparisons, please see Luo et al. (2020).

In life, the dorsum is a purple-brown to greyish-brown with dark tubercles, light-orange granules, and irregular light-orange pigmentation. The tip of the snout has a whitish bar. The iris is bicolored with coppery-orange in the upper half and silver-grey on the lower half. The tympanum is light brown and the supratympanic ridge is black. There are dark brown markings between the eyes and shoulder blade region, and yellow/orange nodules on the upper eyelid. There is also a dark pattern in the shape of a Y between the eyes, which is connected to a dark W pattern between axillae. Leptobrachella suiyangensis has dark patches or blotches on the upper lip and the flanks. The ventrolateral glands form an incomplete white line. The supra-axillary gland is a creamy yellow. The upper limbs are dark orange and the digits have brown spots. The bottom portion of the throat is a light grey color and the chest/abdomen is a light yellow with light brown spotting and marbling. The underside of the thighs is dark grey and has white dots all over. The dorsal surface of the toe is a lighter muted brown with dull orange nodules and random dark patterns with lighter orange coloration (Luo et al. 2020).

The females tend to be bigger in body size in comparison to the males and some females have more obvious brown spotting on the belly . Otherwise, all the type specimens tend to look like the description above (Luo et al. 2020).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Leptobrachella suiyangensis is currently found in the Huoqiuba and Kuankuoshui Nature Reserve in the Guizhou Province, southern China. They are found at about 1,500 meter elevations in streams near bamboo forests. This area is described as a “subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest and evergreen deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest” (Luo et al. 2020).

Researchers have hypothesized that other populations of this species will be found in the Kuankuoshui Nature Reserve in the future (Luo et al. 2020).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Males are heard calling in June from under the leaves of the bamboo, perching on rocks, or from under rocks near the streams (Luo et al. 2020).

Members of the Leptobrachella genus exhibits indirect development and tadpoles in the genus display a fossorial, aquatic lifestyle, aided by their elongated body shapes, semi-calcified vertebrae, and muscular tails (Chen et al. 2018). However, larva for this species has not been described as of 2024.

Trends and Threats
The habitat that this species is restricted to (rocky streams in bamboo forests) are subject to habitat loss due to things such as artificial grazing and herb collection. Therefore, these factors can cause species to decline. This species is found in an area known as Huoqiuba Nature Reserve (Luo et al. 2020).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Intensified agriculture or grazing


The Leptobrachella genus has many cryptic species, many of which have been described recently. As a result, the genus has had many taxonomic uncertainties (Wang et al. 2020). When L. suiyangensis was first described in 2020, Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses of 16s rRNA were performed. Those analyses found that L. suiyangensis was sister to the clade composed of L. alpinus and L. purpura. The next most closely related clade was composed of L. bijie and L. purpuraventra (Luo et al. 2020). This was supported by another Bayesian analysis on 16s rRNA that year, which also included L. chishuiensis and placed L. chishuiensis in the clade with L. bijie and L. purpuraventra (Wang et al. 2020). However, a 2021 study, which also using Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses on 16s rRNA, found L. suiyangensis to be sister to the clade composed of L. bijie, L. chishuiensis and L. jinshaensis, the last of which was described in that study. The study found that the next most closely related species is L. niveimontis, then L. bourreti, then followed by the clade composed of L. alpina and L. purpurus (Cheng et al. 2021).

The species epithet, “suiyangensis,” refers to the location the holotype of the species was found. This specimen was found in Taibai Town in Suiyang County of Guizohu Province, China (Luo et al. 2020).

Chen, J. M., Poyarkov, N. A. Jr., Suwannapoom, C., Lathrop, A., Wu, Y.-H., Zhou, W.-W., Yang, Z.-Y., Jin, J.-Q., Chen, H.-M., Liu, H.-Q., Nguyen, T. Q., Nguyen, S. N., Duong, T. V., Eto, K., Nishikawa, K., Matsui, M., Orlov, N. L., Stuart, B. L., Brown, R. M., Rowley, J. L., Murphy, R. W., Wang. Y.-Y., Chi, J. (2018). Large-scale phylogenetic analyses provide insights into unrecognized diversity and historical biogeography of Asian leaf-litter frogs, genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 124(2018), 162-171. [link]

Cheng, Y.-L., Shi, S.-C., Li, J., Liu, J., Li, S.-Z., and Wang, B. (2021). A new species of the Asian Leaf Litter Toad Genus Leptobrachella Smith, 1925 (Anura, Megophryidae) from northwest Guizhou Province, China. ZooKeys, 1021, 81–107. [link]

Luo, T., Xiao, N., Gao, K., and Zhou, J. (2020). A new species of Leptobrachella (Anura, Megophryidae) from Guizhou Province, China. ZooKeys, 923, 115–140. [link]

Wang J, Z-T Lyu, S Qi, Z-C Zeng, W-X Zhang, L-S Lu, and Y-Y Wang. (2020). Two new Leptobrachella species (Anura, Megophryidae) from the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, southwestern China. ZooKeys 995, 97–125. [link]

Originally submitted by: Emily Chung, Trevor Asbury, Eknoor Sandhu (2024-06-03)
Description by: Emily Chung, Trevor Asbury, Eknoor Sandhu, Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-06-03)
Distribution by: Emily Chung, Trevor Asbury, Eknoor Sandhu (updated 2024-06-03)
Life history by: Emily Chung, Trevor Asbury, Eknoor Sandhu (updated 2024-06-03)
Larva by: Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-07-11)
Trends and threats by: Emily Chung, Trevor Asbury, Eknoor Sandhu (updated 2024-06-03)
Comments by: Emily Chung, Trevor Asbury, Eknoor Sandhu, Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-06-03)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2024-07-11)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2024 Leptobrachella suiyangensis: Suiyang Leaf-litter Toad <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 22, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Jul 2024.

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