Polypedates megacephalus Hallowell, 1861

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Rhacophoridae > Subfamily: Rhacophorinae > Genus: Polypedates > Species: Polypedates megacephalus

Polypedates megacephalus Hallowell, 1861 "1860", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 12: 507. Holotype: Presumably ANSP or USNM but likely now lost. Type locality: "Hong-Kong, China".

Polypedates maculatus var. unicolor Müller, 1878, Verh. Naturforsch. Ges. Basel, 6: 585. Types: NHMB. Type locality: "China". Nomen nudum. Synonymy by Stejneger, 1925, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 66: 30; Zhao and Adler, 1993, Herpetol. China: 156.

Rana scutigera Andersson, 1916, K. Svensk. Vetensk. Akad. Handl., 55: 14. Holotype: NRM21661, according to Poyarkov, Solovyeva, Nguyen, and Geissler, 2020, Zootaxa, 4834: 506. Type locality: "Haut Sanuk, the Siamese Malaya, near the Tenasserim boundery [sic]", Ao Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Thailand. Discussed and clarified by Poyarkov, Solovyeva, Nguyen, and Geissler, 2020, Zootaxa, 4834: 506, who made the synonymy with Polypedates megacephalus.

Rhacophorus leucomystax megacephalusStejneger, 1925, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 66: 30; Pope, 1931, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 61: 574; Inger, 1966, Fieldiana, Zool., 52: 308.

Rana (Hylarana) scutigera — Bourret, 1942, Batr. Indochine: 370.

Polypedates megacephalusMatsui, Seto, and Utsunomiya, 1986, J. Herpetol., 20: 483–489.

Rhacophorus (Rhacophorus) leucomystax megacephalusDubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 81.

Rana (Sylvirana) scutigera — Ohler, 2003, Alytes, 21: 100–102, by implication.

Hylarana scutigera — Chen, Murphy, Lathrop, Ngo, Orlov, Ho, and Somorjai, 2005, Herpetol. J., 15: 237, by implication; Che, Pang, Zhao, Wu, Zhao, and Zhang, 2007, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 43: 3; by implication.

Sylvirana scutigera — Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 370, by implication.

Chalcorana scutigera — Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2010, Herpetol. Sinica, 12: 33. See comment under Ranidae record.

Chalcorana scutigera —  Oliver, Prendini, Kraus, and Raxworthy, 2015, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 90: 187 (provisional arrangement). 

English Names

Hong Kong Whipping Frog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 113; Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 66).

Spot-legged Treefrog (Fei, 1999, Atlas Amph. China: 272; Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 66).

Hour-glass-marked Treefrog (Mathew and Sen, 2010, Pict. Guide Amph. NE India: 106).

White-lipped Treefrog (Zug and Mulcahy, 2020 "2019", Amph. Rept. S. Tanintharyi: 62).

Haut Sanuk Frog (Rana scutigera [no longer recognized]: Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 109).

Yellow Tree Frog  (Rana scutigera [no longer recognized]:Nutphund, 2001, Amph. Thailand: 125).


Subtropical and tropical China (excluding Taiwan) , Hainan, and possibly as far west as eastern (Medog) Xizang, China, and Nagaland and Meghalaya, northeastern India; northern Vietnam (Cao Bang, Vinh Phuc, and Hai Duong provinces); northern Thailand; adjacent Laos (Vientiane and Ban Doi Village, Khammouan); reported from South Tanintharyi, peninsular Myanmar and adjacent Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, peninsular Thailand.


Resurrected from the synonymy of Rhacophorus leucomystax by Matsui, Seto, and Utsunomiya, 1986, J. Herpetol., 20: 483–489. Heyer, 1971, Fieldiana, Zool., 58: 61–82, reported on a call from Thailand, identified as Polypedates leucomystax but based on geography, likely applies to Polypedates megacephalus. Discussed (as Rhacophorus leucomystax megacephalus) by Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 81. This resurrection apparently not noted by Brown and Alcala, 1994, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 48: 203. See comments by Inger, Orlov, and Darevsky, 1999, Fieldiana, Zool., N.S., 92: 25–26, who discussed the problem of diagnosis and identification of sympatric nominal Rhacophorus leucomystax and Rhacophorus megacephalus in Vietnam. Fei, 1999, Atlas Amph. China: 272–274, provided a brief account, figure, and map for the Chinese range. See Orlov, Lathrop, Murphy, and Ho, 2001, Russ. J. Herpetol., 8: 36, for brief account of Vietnam population. Fei and Ye, 2001, Color Handbook Amph. Sichuan: 211, provided a brief account and illustration (as Rhacophorus megacephalus). Orlov, Murphy, Ananjeva, Ryabov, and Ho, 2002, Russ. J. Herpetol., 9: 96, commented on the distribution. See also brief account by Zhao and Yang, 1997, Amph. Rept. Hengduan Mountains Region: 123–124. Song, Jang, Zou, and Shi, 2002, Herpetol. Sinica, 9: 71, reported this species from Hainan, China. Nguyen, Ho, and Nguyen, 2005, Checklist Amph. Rept. Vietnam: 36, provided specific localities for Vietnam. Zhao, Rao, Lü, and Dong, 2005, Sichuan J. Zool., 24: 252, provided a brief note on specimens from Medog County, eastern Xizang, China. Ao, Bordoloi, and Ohler, 2003, Zoos' Print J., 18: 1117–1125, provided a specific locality for Nagaland, northeastern India. Li, Che, Bain, Zhao, and Zhang, 2008, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 48: 302–312,and suggested on the basis of molecular evidence that at least two species in mainland China exist under this one name. Yu, Rao, Yang, and Zhang, 2008, Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 153: 733–749, refined this to show that nominal Rhacophorus leucomystax is more than one species and nominal Rhacophorus megacephalus is more than one species. Fei, Hu, Ye, and Huang, 2009, Fauna Sinica, Amph. 2: 753–760, provided an account and a spot map for China. Sen and Mathew, 2009, Rec. Zool. Surv. India, Occas. Pap., 285: 128, provided a record for Nagaland, northeastern India. Christy, Clark, Gee, Vice, Vice, Warner, Tyrrell, Rodda, and Savidge, 2007, Pacific Sci., 61: 469–483, reported reproducing populations on Guam (see comment under Polypedates braueri). Mathew and Sen, 2010, Pict. Guide Amph. NE India: 106, provided a brief characterization and a photograph. Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2010, Colored Atlas of Chinese Amph.: 446–447, provided a brief account for China including photographs of specimens and habitat. Lü, Pang, Yang, and Zhang, 2010, Asian Herpetol. Res., Ser. 2, 1: 86–89, suggested on the basis of mtDNA evidence that color pattern was insufficient to separate Polypedates megacephalus and Polypedates leucomystax and that populations in southern Yunnan share mtDNA characteristics with Polypedates leucomystax rather than Polypedates megacephalus. Shi, 2011, Amph. Rept. Fauna Hainan: 69–72, provided an account for Hainan. Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 66–68, provided an account for Xizang, China. Kuraishi, Matsui, Hamidy, Belabut, Ahmad, Panha, Sudin, Yong, Jiang, Ota, Thong, and Nishikawa, 2013, Zool. Scripta, 42: 54–70.  Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2012, Colored Atlas Chinese Amph. Distr.: 527–529, provided an account, photographs, and a range map for China. Hecht, Pham, Nguyen, Nguyen, Bonkowski, and Ziegler, 2013, Biodiversity J., 4: 507–552, reported a record from Tay Yen Tu Nature Reserve, Bac Giang Province, northeastern Vietnam and discussed the range. Pan, Dang, Wang, Zheng, Rao, and Li, 2013, Asian Herpetol. Res., 4: 124–133, provided a phylogeny reconstruction of the Polypedates leucomystax complex that addressed this species. See account, photograph, and map for Vietnam in Vassilieva, Galoyan, Poyarkov, and Geissler, 2016, Photograph. Field Guide Amph. Rept. Lowland S. Vietnam: 115–117. Subba, Aravind, and Ravikanth, 2016, Check List, 13(1: 2033): 12, considered the presence of this species in Sikkim, India, to be doubtful. Pham, An, Herbst, Bonkowski, Ziegler, and Nguyen, 2017, Bonn Zool. Bull., 66: 37–53, provided records for Cao Bang Province, Vietnam, along with observatons on morphology and natural history. Guo, Yang, and Li, 2009, Colored Illust. Amph. Rept. Taiwan: 112–113, provided a brief account, photographs, and map. Shen, 2014, Fauna Hunan, Amph.: 312–315, provided an account for Hunan, China. Li, 2011, Amph. Rept. Guangdong: 69, provided a brief account for Guangdong, China, and photograph. Zhang, 2017, Amph. Rept. Fanjing Mts.: 161–165, provided taxonomic and natural history information for the Fanjing Mountains population in northeastern Guizhou, China. Liu, Wang, Zhai, and Wang, 2019 "2018", Asian Herpetol. Res., 9: 240–249, reported on call characteristics. Huang, Liu, Li, Luo, Ni, Yao, Xu, Zeng, Li, Wei, Li, and Zhang, 2019, PeerJ, 7(e74150): 1–20, reported on the complete mitogenome. Rahman, Chen, Wu, Chen, Lwin, Murphy, Li, and Che, 2020, Zootaxa, 4742: 531–541, provided records for Laos, Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Buddhachat and Suwannapoom, 2018, PeerJ, 6 (e4263): 1–13, discussed the molecular evidence for at least five lineages/species in Thailand of the Polypedates leucomystax complex, of which only the northeastern-most population was identified as Polypedates leucomystax, while from the northern part of the peninsula to the Myanmar and Laos border regions were identified as Polypedates megacephalus. Zug and Mulcahy, 2020 "2019", Amph. Rept. S. Tanintharyi: 62–63, provided a brief account for South Tanintharyi, peninsular Myanmar. Poyarkov, Solovyeva, Nguyen, and Geissler, 2020, Zootaxa, 4834: 502–522, discussed extensively the synonymy of Rana scutigera as well as the itinerary of the collector. With reference to the status of Rana scutigera, see accounts by Bourret, 1942, Batr. Indochine: 370–371 (as Rana scutigera); and Taylor, 1962, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 43: 471–473 (who suggested that his Rana scutigera taxon might actually be synonymous with Rhacophorus leucomystax). Nutphund, 2001, Amph. Thailand: 125, provided a brief characterization and photograph of Rana (Sylvirana) scutigera, which Ohler, 2003, Alytes, 21: 100–102, suggested was only allocated confidently to some species of the subgenus Sylvirana.  

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