Environment

Native Amphibians Of Indonesia

Indonesia is home to many rare, endemic, and threatened species of amphibians.

Indonesia is an island nation located in southeast Asia between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is separated into two principal ecological regions, the western and the eastern, characterized by Asian and Australasian wildlife, respectively. Various ecosystems make up the country, including coastlines, jungles, and mangroves, just to name a few. These diverse habitats allow for high levels of biodiversity in both flora and fauna. This article takes a closer look at some of the native amphibians of Indonesia.

Native Amphibians of Indonesia

Wahai Tree Frog

The Wahai tree frog is endemic to Indonesia and belongs to the Hylidae Family. It can only be found in two locations, one on the Vogelkop Peninsula and the other at Wahai on Serum Island. This frog species inhabits lowland areas. Little else is known regarding the Wahai tree frog as it has only been collected once, in 1878.

Sumatran Caecilian

The Sumatran Caecilian can only be found on Sumatra Island, and even there has only been recorded in the western end. This amphibian species resembles a snake in that it has no legs to aid in its movement. Caecilians predominantly inhabit underground areas. The Sumatran Caecilian in particular prefers tropical moist forests. It is believed to lay eggs which hatch into aquatic larvae. Some researchers question if this species is assigned to the proper taxonomic status.

Banded Bullfrog

The banded bullfrog is characterized by its copper-brown color and the salmon-colored band running along its sides and around its head and nose. This species typically grows to around 3 inches in length. Its preferred habitats are forests and rice paddies where it feeds on grasshoppers, worms, and flies. When threatened, the banded bullfrog discharges a toxic substance. Another survival technique is its ability to survive dry season by burrowing underground. This frog has a wide distribution throughout southeast Asia and China and much of its habitat is protected as parks or reserves. Some people harvest these frogs to eat and sell in the pet trade, although this is not considered a threat to its existence.

Sulawesian Toad

The Sulawesian toad is endemic to the island habitats of Sulawesi, Buton, Muna, and Banggai, where it can be found at elevations of up to 3,280 feet. Within these islands, it can be found inhabiting rainforests, agricultural lands, ponds, and other slow-moving waters. This toad has a copper-brown color with bumpy skin, while its lips and some of it bumps are an orange-yellow color. Its population is considered abundant and shows no signs of decline.

A list of native amphibians in Indonesia can be found below.

Environmental Threats

Amphibians are seen as indicator species, and as such give insight into the health of their surrounding habitats. Around the world, nearly half of all amphibian species populations are declining and an additional 33% are considered threatened. In Indonesia, amphibians and other plant and animal species face several environmental threats. Frogs in particular are targeted in Indonesia for the pet trade. Although some of the previously mentioned amphibians show no signs of population decline, their exploitation still has some effects on the environment. When animal exporters take large numbers of a species out of their habitat, it interrupts the food chain and allows their natural prey to multiply. In addition, Indonesia has a problem with illegal logging projects that result in deforestation and significant habitat destruction. Gold mining and agricultural production are also environmental threats in Indonesia as each leads to water pollution. This pollution is detrimental to amphibians due to their sensitive skin and soft-shelled eggs, making them especially susceptible to toxins.

Native Amphibians of IndonesiaScientific Name
Wahai Tree Frog
Litoria vagabunda
Sumatran Caecilian
Ichthyophis sumatranus
Banded BullfrogKaloula pulchra
Sulawesian ToadIngerophrynus celebensis
Crested ToadIngerophrynus biporcatus
Palmated Chorus FrogMicrohyla palmipes
Desert Tree FrogLitoria rubella
Long-Nosed Horned FrogMegophrys nasuta
Javan Caecilian
Ichthyophis javanicus
Fanged River FrogLimnonectes macrodon

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