Polypedates cf. leucomystax (Gravenhorst, 1829)

Mulcahy, Daniel G., Lee, Justin L., Miller, Aryeh H., Chand, Mia, Thura, Myint Kyaw & Zug, George R., 2018, Filling the BINs of life: Report of an amphibian and reptile survey of the Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) Region of Myanmar, with DNA barcode data, ZooKeys 757, pp. 85-152: 85

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Polypedates cf. leucomystax (Gravenhorst, 1829)


Polypedates cf. leucomystax (Gravenhorst, 1829) 


Three immature females 61.7, 62.8, 69.7 mm, adult female 82.0, and two adult males 45.7, 45.8 mm SVL.

Natural history notes.

Two species of Polypedates  were found in a rural landscape during heavy rains. At the time of collection, all specimens (six adult males and ten females) were assumed to represent a single species and the location of individual specimens was not noted, though all were collected from the same flooded fields. The results from the barcode analysis revealed that two genetic lineages were present in the total Polypedates  sample, and one of lineages was represented by only males and the other by only females. The males (45.3-50.2 mm SVL) have the vocal sacs open although there is no indication externally (i.e., stretched throat skin and pigmented) and the testes are enlarged. The majority (n = 9) of the females range from 60.7-70.0 mm SVL; their oviducts have only begun to enlarge and the follicles within the ovaries are small and presumably pre-vitellogenic or in early vitellogenesis; a single large female 82.0 mm SVL has mature oviducts and ovarian follicles are well yolked but not pigmented. All females have distinct dark brown longitudinal stripes (commonly broken) on the dorsum; stripes are absent or reduced on most of the males. Additionally, the lower lip of the females is black bordered and immaculate in the males. It is notable that without the barcode data, we would have interpreted the vouchers as a single species with distinctly smaller males and larger females. The reproductive data suggest that the smaller species breeds early in the monsoon and the larger one in the late monsoon or early dry season.

General Distribution.

Widespread in South Asia, eastern India to southwestern China through Southeast Asia to the Greater Sunda Islands and Philippine Islands.

Molecular Data.

Our specimens were placed in their own COIBIN, and were placed at the base of a large 16S clade of P. leucomystax  , from GenBank (sensu Kuraishi et al. 2012). These specimens may represent a new species, closely related to P. leucomystax  (see comments below). For now, we refer to them as P. cf. leucomystax  .


Initially, the specimens collected were considered to represent a single species, but the DNA barcoding revealed two distinct lineages. The P. leucomystax  complex of frogs remains contentious. Several recent studies have produced 16S (e.g. Kuraishi et al. 2012, Pan et al. 2013) and COI (Buddhachat and Suwannpoom 2018) sequence data, resolving some of the issues within this group. Our Tanintharyi frog loosely fits the morphological description of the P. leucomystax.  Our clade was placed sister to the COI Polypedates cf. leucomystax  clade of Buddhachat and Suwannpoom (2018; not shown) However, a detailed morphological comparison and additional sequence data are supporting our lineage represents a new species that occurs from northern Tanintharyi, and further to the north in Myanmar (Wilkinson, Mulcahy, Zug, in prep.).

Specimens examined.

USNM 587003-7008

Red List status.

Polypedates leucomystax  is listed as LC.