Nearly 400 species are known from two subfamilies: Buergeriinae and Rhacophorinae in the family Rhacophoridae. Only five species in the genus Buergeria are known from the subfamily Buergeriinae. Rhacophorinae subfamily includes 292 taxa in 11 genera. Rhacophorids are distributed in Sub-sharan Africa, Madagascar, South and South East Asia. Generally Rhacophorids are arboreal frogs but some are also found on the ground. They are small to large (maximum-120mm) treefrogs with enlarged toepads and relatively long limbs. These frogs have flattened bodies. They have large eyes with horizontal pupils. They show both indirect and direct development. The free living tadpoles have keratinous mouth parts.
Rhacophoridae in Sri Lanka
Rhacophoridae is the largest family of frogs in Sri Lanka with 81 species and 80 endemic species. Sri Lankan Rhacophoridae is represented only by the subfamily Rhacophorinae. Three genera of Rhacophorines are present in Sri Lanka (Polypedates, Pseudophilautus and Taruga).
Genus- Pseudophilautus Laurent, 1943
Species of Pseudophilautus are small to medium (20-50mm SVL) sized frogs. Mostly they are seen in wet leaf litter but at night they can be seen perched on shrubs and trees. But some species lead an entirely arboreal life. They are commonly known as 'Shrub frogs' or 'Oriental Shrub frogs'. This is the most diverse genera of frogs in Sri Lanka with 75 known species and all are endemic to Sri Lanka. 16 species are thought to be already extinct from the island. Majority of the Shrub frogs are confined to the wet zone forests of Sri Lanka. Pseudophilautus species does not have a tadpole stage and instead they show the phenomena of “direct development”. Direct development is the larval development that occurs within the eggs so that hatchlings resemble miniature adults. However their fertilization is still external and males release sperm on the eggs in order to fertilize them. Most Pseudophilautus species in Sri Lanka lay their eggs in moist leaf litter or soil. But P. femoralis attaches their eggs under leaves. Initially these frogs were placed in the genus Philautus. Molecular phylogenetic studies on these frogs revealed that the Indian and Sri Lankan Philautus species were distinct from the Sunda Islands (Malayasian, Indonesian Islands) Philautus and deserve their own genus. As a result they were assigned to the genus Pseudophilautus.
Species of Pseudophilautus in Sri Lanka
Pseudophilautus abundus Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda, 2005E
Genus- Polypedates Tschudi, 1838
Sri Lankan Species of Polypedates are medium sized tree frogs that range between 45-65 mm from Snout to vent. They are mainly arboreal. Three species are known from Sri Lanka out of which two are endemic. Polypedates species create foam nests on surfaces above water bodies. Once the eggs hatch the tadpoles fall in to water where they live until metamorphosis. P. cruciger is a common species that can be seen in the wet and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka up to an elevation of 900m above m.s.l. P. maculatus is distributed throughout Sri Lanka up to an elevation of 500m above m.s.l. Rare P. ranwellai is so for known only from the Gilimale forest reserve in the western central hills of Sri Lanka.
Species of Polypedates in Sri Lanka
Polypedates cruciger Blyth, 1852E
Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830)
Polypedates ranwellai Wickramasinghe, Munindradasa & Fernando, 2012E
Genus- Taruga Meegaskumbura et al, 2011Genus Taruga is an endemic genus of tree frogs. Species of Taruga are comparatively smaller than the adult specimens of Polypedates and they range between 35-45 mm from Snout to vent. They are mainly arboreal. Three species are known from from this genus. Species of Taruga were previously placed under the genus Polypedates. However Morphological and molecular phylogenetic data suggested that they are unique from the rest of the Polypedates and deserves their own genus and hence three species were assigned to the genus Taruga. Species of Taruga differs from Polypedates species by having a dorsolateral glandular fold that extends from the posterior margin of the upper eyelid to the mid-flank (vs. a supratympanic fold that curves over the dorsal margin of the tympanic membrane in Polypedates), a prominent calcar at the end of the tibia (absent in most Polypedates), a pointed snout and 6–10 prominent conical tubercles surrounding the cloaca (absent in Polypedates). Like Polypedates species Taruga species also create foam nests on surfaces above a water bodies. Once the eggs hatch the tadpoles fall in to water where they live until metamorphosis. T. eques is a montane species restricted to the regions above 1000m above m.s.l. T. fastigo is restricted in distribution to the higher elevations of Rakwana hills in Sri Lanka. T. longinasus is a lowland species found in the rainforests of south west Sri Lanka.
Species of Taruga in Sri Lanka
Taruga eques Günther, 1858E
Taruga fastigo Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda, 2001E
Taruga longinasus (Ahl, 1927)E
Abreviations in superscript
E- Endemic species, Ex- Extinct species, Cr- Critically Endangered species, En- Endangered species
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