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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

Did You Know? 15 Incredible Gliding Frog Facts

Gliding frog facts talk about the different colors on their bodies such as green and yellow.

Do you want to know about unique frogs that can glide and land safely over long distances? Then gliding frogs are the ones you are looking for. Used to denote the number of species in the genus Rhacophorus, there are around 80 different types of gliding frogs that are found. Mainly observed in places like the Western Ghats in India and the dense, tropical forests of southeast Asia, these frogs can jump and glide their way from trees to the ground. What helps them glide is the layer of webbing they have on their feet. This webbing is then extended while jumping to have the effect of a parachute on the frog, giving it a safe landing spot.

Sounds interesting, right? Do you want to know more? Then, scroll down and read on to learn more interesting facts about gliding frogs. For facts on other species, take a look at Amazon milk frogs and poison dart frogs.

Gliding Frog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a gliding frog?

Gliding frogs are different species of amphibians belonging to the genus Rhacophorus. With the unique fully-webbed feet, fingers, and toes, these frogs have the unique ability to break the impact of their jump through parachuting from trees. This method of movement, which is often referred to as gliding, is why species belonging to this genus are called gliding or flying frogs.

What class of animal does a gliding frog belong to?

Gliding frogs belong to the class of Amphibia or amphibians. They are part of the Anura order and the family Rhacophoridae. Of course, as we already know, their genus is Rhacophorus. Interestingly, Rhacophurus and the Hylidae family of frogs constitute what many experts term as true tree frog species.

How many gliding frogs are there in the world?

Unfortunately, as there are more than 70 species in this genus, it is challenging to keep track of the population of each frog. However, according to conservation organizations like the IUCN, some species have a stable population trend. These include the Malaysian Rhacophorus penanorum, the Gunung Gading tree frog from Brunei, and the Malkmus's tree frog. On the other hand, a majority of the species like the Malabar gliding frog, the small tree frog, the false Malabar gliding frog, and Wallace's flying frog have declining population trends. This decline has been attributed to a loss of habitat.

Where does a gliding frog live?

Gliding frogs live in different habitat ranges in the continents of Asia and Africa. In India, they are found all across the forests located on the slopes of the Western Ghats. Apart from the Western Ghats, these frogs can also be seen in the forests of the Himalayas, especially in areas like Arunachal Pradesh. A population of these webbed feet frogs can be seen in Japan. Rhacophorus frogs also have a large distribution in countries of Southeast Asia, like Malaysia, Myanmar, Sumatra, Indonesia, and Borneo.

The continent of Africa and the island nation of Madagascar also have some Rhacophoridae species.

What is a gliding frog's habitat?

Like most frogs, gliding frogs are found in a tree habitat over their distribution range. They mostly occupy lowland forests and dense, moist forests on the slopes of mountain ranges like the Western Ghats in India. There are some anurans in this genus, like the Rhacophorus catamitus in Myanmar, who have been observed to stay within the elevation range of 3,504-5,512 ft (1,068–1,680 m). Additionally, these creatures are primarily arboreal, i.e., they stay on trees and only come down to the ground for breeding and feeding.

Who do gliding frogs live with?

It has been noted that usually, gliding frogs are solitary creatures that live in trees. The only time they are together is when the males and females start their breeding process. Apart from that, these anurans lead a quiet life.

How long do gliding frogs live?

Unfortunately, the life span of most species of Rhacophorus frogs is not known. However, as average frogs live for around three to six years in the wild, we can assume that gliding frogs have similar longevity. Horned frogs have a life span of six to seven years, which extends up to 15 years in captivity. Again, there is a lack of information regarding how long gliding frogs can live in captivity, but it can be presumed that they live longer than they generally would in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction and breeding process of the gliding frogs are quite interesting. The amphibians in this genus are known to make a foam nest in a leaf of a tree where they lay the eggs.

Say, for example, in the case of the Malabar gliding frog and the small tree frog. For the small tree frog, R. lateralis, males start the reproduction process by making sounds to attract their female companions. There are some anurans known for breeding exclusively in trees, while others may breed on the ground. The main period of reproduction for them is during the monsoon period. Interestingly, there have been reports that many males try to breed with one female frog.

Now, for the foam nests. The foam is a special sticky substance that is released during the copulation of these amphibians. Once the reproduction is over, females deposit the eggs in that foam and cover it with a leaf. The breeding site is chosen as something close to a water source. The total numbers of eggs usually range from around one to two dozen; however, some species can lay more than 50 eggs. The eggs develop into tadpoles and drop from the leaf nest into the water body beneath.

What is their conservation status?

Different species within the Rhacophorus genus have different conservation statuses, owing to a host of different reasons like habitat loss and deforestation. While most of the frogs have been defined as Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature or IUCN, there are some that are Critically Endangered (the false Malabar tree frog), Endangered (Vietnam tree frog, the small tree frog, Kalakad gliding tree frog), Vulnerable (Rhacophorus monticola), and Near Threatened (Kina Balu flying frog, green flying frog, Reinwardt's tree frog). Also, unfortunately, there are some that are Data Deficient, like the Sumatran sharp-nosed tree frog.

Gliding Frog Fun Facts 

What do gliding frogs look like?

Gliding frogs have a wide distribution range.

When we talk about a broad group of frogs, such as the gliding frogs, there will be diverse looks across the genus. Different types of frogs within this genus have various body colors, including light green, yellow, brown, pale yellow, deep green, and blue. However, what remains common in all the amphibians is their ability to glide, which helps them break their landing. This is facilitated by the fact that they have webbing on their feet, between fingers and toes. The webbing acts as a parachute, with the frog extending the webbing during landing. What also helps are their slim limbs which make them very agile.

Interestingly, the skin on their limbs and body is slimy and moist.

How cute are they?

While some of the gliding frogs are small and cute, others do not look that cute at all.

How do they communicate?

Croaking and other sounds act as the primary source of communication between gliding frogs.

How big is a gliding frog?

Now, frogs are also measured according to their snout-vent length. The average snout-vent length of gliding frogs does not exceed more than 4 in (10 cm). In comparison, the goliath frog or the African clawed frog is much bigger than them.

How fast can gliding frogs move?

Even though the data on how fast they can move is not available, these frogs can jump or glide over long distances. For example, the Malabar gliding frog can glide around 30-40 ft (9-12 m), which is more than 100 times their own body length.

How much does a gliding frog weigh?

Due to the small size of the gliding frogs, their average weight is quite low. However, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact figure in this regard.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female frogs.

What would you call a baby gliding frog?

Young frogs are called tadpoles.

What do they eat?

They primarily consume insects and small invertebrates. Some scientific research has indicated that there may be the existence of cannibalism within the ranks of tadpoles.

Are they poisonous?

No, unlike the poison frogs, these anurans have not been observed to be poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Again, these gliding anurans are wild creatures, and it is best not to keep them as pets.

Did you know...

Apart from the Rhacophoridae family's frogs, another species of frog is referred to as the gliding tree frog. The gliding tree frog is found in South and Central America. Also known as the gliding leaf frog, the gliding tree frog has the scientific name Agalychnis spurrelli. The green gliding tree frog or gliding leaf frog facts talk about how their scientific name pays homage to their discoverer and how they have the same diet as the common frog.

There is a debate as to whether the Chinese gliding frog falls in the taxonomic category of gliding frogs.

Different types of gliding frogs

There are around 80 different species of gliding frogs, all belonging to the same genus. They are separated by their distribution range, appearance, and habitats.

How do gliding frogs glide?

Gliding frogs have webbing on their feet, which they extend to the parachute and land safely on the ground.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians from our tree frog facts and bullfrog facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable frog coloring pages.

Main image by Rushenb.

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