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Asian Toads, Litter Frogs: Family Megophryidae





Megophryids is the largest and most diversified family of Old World frogs. These frogs range from Pakistan, India, extending eastward into southeast Asia, Borneo and the Philippines to the Sunda Islands. They range in size from about 20 to 125 mm. Some are large, cryptic, forest-floor dwellers with adaptations to eat large prey. Their skin is modified so that they resemble dead leaves on the forest floor. Some species have spines on the eyelids, which further enhances the illusion (Megophrys montana). While others, such as Leptobrachella mjobergi, are small, with digital discs and are found on rocks along streams. Some megophryids have pond-type tadpoles; others have stream-dwelling tadpoles, some are with surface-feeding mouths and some with large buccal areas for clinging to rocks. All megophryids for which data are available have unusually ossified intervertebral disks, and hyoid plates that lack most of the ceratohyals. There are no known fossils.

Boulenger (1920) followed Annandale (1917) to include Rana pleskei in the amphibian fauna of Kashmir. In 1956 a small frog, SMF 64483, (snout-vent length 31 mm), collected from a village Lun Bangla (at the border with Azad Kashmir), was deposited in the Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt, Germany (SMF), by late Dr. Ahsanul Islam (Government College, Natural History Museum, Lahore). Mertens (1969) identified the specimen as Nanorana pleskei, later Dubois and Khan (1979) referred the specimen as Rana vicina. However, probably due to priority Mertens identification was followed by the subsequent authors to include Nanorana pleskei in fauna of Pakistan (Khan,1980, 2003; Khan and Tasnim, 1987). In 1978, Dubois (1978) assigned the Azad Kashmir specimen and the tadpoles collected from Kashmir (Annandale, 1917) to Scutiger nyingchiensis Fei, 1977, family Megophryidae. Sahi and Duda (1986) were confusedly quoted the authority of Dubois (1978) to include Nanorana pleskei in the fauna of Jammu and Kashmir, rather then Scutiger nyingchiensis (Cox’s communication, 2004).

N. pleskei is a species of northwestern Yunnan, western Sichuan, and southeastern Gansu, China (Zhao and Adler, 1993), it does not range in the northwest, so that Pakistan and India are not included in its range. All references to N. pleskei from Pakistan and Kashmir actually pertain to Scutiger nyingchiensis, genus Scutiger replaces Nanorana adding a new family Megophyryidae to the amphibian fauna of Pakistan.

Family Megophryidae is represented in Pakistan by only one species of frog in genus Scutiger:



Special Note: The information on this page was written by Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan and taken from the AmphibiaWeb database, University of California at Berkeley.  I am extremely grateful to both the author Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan and AmphibiaWeb for allowing me to use the information, under special permission. As such, all information on this page is the copyright property of Dr.  Muhammad Sharif Khan and AmphibiaWeb and should not be used without the written permission of the copyright holders.




References and Credits:

  • The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) (http://tolweb.org)

  • Written by M. S. Khan (typhlops99@hotmail.com), Herp Lab, Rabwah, Pakistan

  • AmphibiaWeb database, University of California at Berkeley 
    ( http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/aw/index.html )

  • Nausherwan Ahmed



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Updated May 8th, 2005