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Amphibians

Amphibians are vertebrates that spend part of their lives under water and the remainder on land. Amphibians are cold-blooded; their body temperature depends on the temperature of their environment. Favourable conditions equal warm and wet, so tropical rainforests, like those in Borneo are perfect. There are three groups of living amphibians: salamanders, frogs and caecilians.

 

Caecilians

Caecilians are a peculiar group that superficially resemble earthworms or snakes; they do not have limbs, their bodies are long, thin and their eyes are small.They mostly live hidden in the ground, which makes them the least explored order of amphibians, and widely unknown.

 

Frogs

Frogs are amongst the most familiar animals, whenever they occur in the world. They are characterized by long hind legs, a short body, webbed digits, protruding eyes and the absence of a tail. Frogs are most noticeable by their call, which can be widely heard during the night or day, mainly in their mating season.

There is often much confusion as to difference between frog and toads; the members of the order Anura are frogs, and the term “toad” is generally applied to the members of Bufonidae family, which are characterized by dry warty skin and short hind legs.

Frogs can be divided into two groups: those that live in habitat created and modified by man and those that can only survive in and around native forest. The first group includes Four-Lined Tree Frog, Cricket Frog, Grass Frog, Taiwanese Frog, Banded Bullfrog and Mangrove Frog.

The majority of Borneo's frogs are confined to the native forests and adjacent areas; this group includes: Giant River Frogs, Greater Swamp Frogs, Poison Rock Frog, Bornean Horned Frog and White-lipped Frog.

Other species that spend the majority of the time on the canopy are called flying frogs (Rhacophorus): Wallace's Flying Frog, Harlequin Tree Frog and Rainward's Flying Frog.

Currently we know 39 species of Rhacophoridae (Afro-Asian Tree Frogs) from Borneo. Probably the most dramatic looking frog in the region, leaping up to 15 metres between trees, Borneo's largest flying frogs use their long webbed toes and specialized toe pads to glide through the night. The Wallace's flying frog is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, a Victorian naturalist who traveled in Borneo and collected local species. In 1855, a villager brought Wallace a specimen that he recorded as the first known flying frog.

Living mainly at mid-canopy level of tropical rainforests, the extensive webbing allows for long glides from tree to tree. The species can be found at ground level when it descends to mate or construct its bubble nest. The species ranges from Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam through West Malaysia to the island of Borneo.


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