THE MALAYAN LEAF FROG - Megophrys nasuta

THE MALAYAN LEAF FROG - Megophrys nasuta

Frogs are well-known for their incredible colouration, just look as the poison arrow frogs of south America. But when they use these powers for camouflage, the Malayan Leaf Frog - Megophrys nasuta is at the top of its game.

Native to the rainforest areas of southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo, the Malayan Leaf Frog lives in permanently damp and cool lowland and submontane rainforests amongst the leaf litter.

They are both nocturnal and solitary in habit, and while adult Malayan Leaf Frogs will spend their lives away from water, breeding still takes place in streams. Female frogs attach the eggs to the underside of partially or fully submerged rocks or logs.

When hunting for food, the Malayan Leaf Frog is an ambush predator and typically lies still on the forest floor waiting for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Using their tongue they then pounce and engulf the prey. They typically feed on spiders, small rodents, lizards and other frogs.

When viewed from above, the Malayan leaf frogs incredible mimicry enables it to remain hidden in the forest leaf litter. It is an almost perfect replica of a dead leaf, even down to the granular skin, ridged leaf veins, the central spines, patterns and lobate margins. This camouflage has evolved to enable the leaf frog to hide from its natural predators such as birds, snakes and lizards. The upper eyelids and snout are drawn out into long triangular projections, forming what looks like horns. This has resulted in their other common name of Long-nosed Horned frog.

The future

Sadly, its survival is threatened by habitat loss due to subsistence agriculture, timber extraction, charcoal manufacture, livestock grazing and expanding human settlements. The species is also harvested for the national and international pet trade.

While Malayan Leaf Frog populations are decreasing, they are listed as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This has be decided in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because the Malayan Leaf Frog is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

For related articles click onto the following links:
The Leaf-Tailed Gecko
The Malayan Leaf Frog

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