Saturday, 29 March 2008

Saffron-Bellied Frogs

The Saffron-bellied Frog - Chaperina fusca - is a tiny frog belonging to the family Microhylidae or Narrow-mouthed Frog. Although said to be quite common they are seldom seen; they usually inhabit forest and breed in rain-filled pools, where they congregate in numbers to mate.

Photo 1 - An adult frog on my finger. Photo 2 - The underside showing saffron-yellow spots

I first came across this species a few years back breeding in a well shaded small cement water tank in an oil palm plantation. As this tank is always filled with rain-water it is continuously occupied by these little frogs, and there are usually some tadpoles in the tank at any one time the whole year round. Mating activity is most active when it rains when the soft chirping songs of the males could be heard.

Photo 3 - A small colony of these frogs live in this cement tank (click on photo to see details). Photo 4 - Tadpoles

The adult frogs are only about 25mm (1-inch) in length, the male slightly smaller than the female. The back is dark greenish brown in colour, the limbs light brown to orange with dark brown bars, on the belly are saffron-orange spots on a darker background, strangely the yellow colour will rub off on to human fingers when handled. On each elbow and heel there is a flexible spine-like projection.