Sphaerotheca rolandae (Dubois, 1983)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Dicroglossidae > Subfamily: Dicroglossinae > Genus: Sphaerotheca > Species: Sphaerotheca rolandae

Rana variegata Gravenhorst, 1829, Delic. Mus. Zool. Vratislav., 1: 33. Types: Stated to be in the "museo Lampeano", animal figured on pl. 8, fig. 1; current status not known. BMNH 1973.3024 (holotype of Sphaerotheca rolandae) designated neotype by Deepak, Dinesh, Ohler, Shanker, Channakeshavamurthy, and Ashadevi, 2020, Zootaxa, 4885: 432. Type locality: not stated. Neotype from "Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, altitude 60 m, latitude 7° 29′ N, longitude 80° 22′ E". Preoccupied by Rana variegata Linnaeus, 1758 (= Bombina variegata). See also comments by Dahanukar, Sulakhe, and Padhye, 2017, J. Threatened Taxa, 9: 10280–10281. 

Rana (Tomopterna) breviceps rolandae Dubois, 1983, Alytes, 2: 166. Holotype: BMNH 1973.3024, by original designation. Type locality: "Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, altitude 60 m, latitude 7° 29′ N, longitude 80° 22′ E".

Tomopterna (Sphaerotheca) rolandaeDubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 57.

Sphaerotheca rolandaeDubois, 1999, J. South Asian Nat. Hist., 4: 8; Vences, Glaw, Kosuch, Das, and Veith, 2000, Lourenço and Goodman (eds.), Diversité et Endéémisme à Madagascar: 232.

English Names

Sri Lanka Bullfrog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 110).

Roland's Burrowing Frog (Das and Dutta, 1998, Hamadryad, 23: 66; Daniels, 2005, Amph. Peninsular India: 246).

Rolanda's Burrowing Frog (Schleich, Anders, and Kästle, 2002, in Schleich and Kästle (eds.), Amph. Rept. Nepal: 80).

Southern Burrowing Frog (Daniels, 2005, Amph. Peninsular India: 246).

Marble Sand Frog (de Silva, 2009, Amph. Rep. Sri Lanka Photograph. Guide: 76).


Sri Lanka. See comment. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Sri Lanka

Endemic: Sri Lanka


The identity of Sphaerotheca rolandae is something of a conundrum and although several publications have addressed populations so identified from India, there have yet to be any genetically confirmed localities from there or even from Sri Lanka, where the name is currently restricted. Use of the literature that follows requires caution due to this ongoing confusion of the status of this taxon. Elevated from a subspecies of Tomopterna breviceps by Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 57. See account by Dutta and Manamendra-Arachchi, 1996, Amph. Fauna Sri Lanka: 133-139, who noted that the original description was based on a mixed sample of Tomopterna breviceps and Tomopterna rolandae. Chanda, 2002, Handb. Indian Amph.: 200, provided a brief account (as Tomopterna rolandae) for animals referred to this taxon from southern and eastern India as well as Sri Lanka. Anders, 2002, in Schleich and Kästle (eds.), Amph. Rept. Nepal: 310–313, provided an account, figure, and map for the population in Nepal they regarded as of this taxon. Dubois, 2004, Alytes, 21: 176, questioned that status of this species in Nepal. Dutta, 1997, Amph. India Sri Lanka: 170-171, provided a range, systematic comments, and partial taxonomic bibliography. Daniels, 2005, Amph. Peninsular India: 246–248, provided an account. Srinivasulu and Das, 2008, Asiat. Herpetol. Res., 11: 110–131, reported the species in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh. Das and Dutta, 2007, Hamadryad, 31: 154–181, noted a few larval descriptions, of varying completeness, in the literature. Dinesh, Radhakrishnan, Gururaja, and Bhatta, 2009, Rec. Zool. Surv. India, Occas. Pap., 302: 36, accepted the Indian records. de Silva, 2009, Amph. Rep. Sri Lanka Photograph. Guide: 76, provided a brief account and color photograph for Sri Lanka. See Shah and Tiwari, 2004, Herpetofauna Nepal: 75, for brief account. Hegde and Roy, 2011, Frog Leg, 17: 20–21, provided a record from Uttar Pradesh, India. Prasad, Dinesh, Das, Swamy, Shinde, and Vishnu, 2019, Rec. Zool. Surv. India, 119: 207, commented on taxonomic status of Indian populations, implying that the distinctiveness of Sphaerotheca pluvialis and Sphaerotheca rolandae, remains arguable. Deuti, Sethy, and Ray, 2014, Rec. Zool. Surv. India, 114: 132–133, provided a  brief account for the Orissa and Andhra Pradesh populations India. Sreekumar and Dinesh, 2020, Rec. Zool. Surv. India, 120: 33–40, noted that records from Maharashtra, India, are in error. See discussion of Rana variegata Gravenhorst, 1829, by Deepak, Dinesh, Ohler, Shanker, Channakeshavamurthy, and Ashadevi, 2020, Zootaxa, 4885: 432, restricted the identified populations to Sri Lanka, so literature regarding "Sphaerotheca rolandae" from elsewhere should be employed with caution. Ganesh and Guptha, 2021, J. Anim. Diversity, 3(3): 29, provided records from the Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh, India. Jablonski, Masroor, and Hofmann, 2021, Diversity, 13 (216): 5, noted a genbank record (GU191122), identified as Sphaerotheca rolandae (without locality information) that nests within their Sphaerotheca maskeyi

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