Theloderma moloch (Annandale, 1912)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Rhacophoridae > Subfamily: Rhacophorinae > Genus: Theloderma > Species: Theloderma moloch

Phrynoderma moloch Annandale, 1912, Rec. Indian Mus., 8: 18. Syntypes: ZSIC 16951-52, by original designation. Type locality: "Upper Renging, 2,150 ft.)", Abor country, Arunachal Pradesh, India (in region claimed by China)].

Rhacophorus (Phrynoderma) molochAhl, 1931, Das Tierreich, 55: 60.

Rhacophorus (Rhacophorus) leprosus molochWolf, 1936, Bull. Raffles Mus., 12: 158.

Nyctixalus molochDubois, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 257. Provisional transfer to Nyctixalus.

Theloderma moloch —Inger In Frost, 1985, Amph. Species World: 550; Fei, Ye, and Huang, 1990, Key to Chinese Amph.: 183; Zhao and Adler, 1993, Herpetol. China: 160; Das and Dutta, 1998, Hamadryad, 23: 67; Orlov, Dutta, Ghate, and Kent, 2006, Russ. J. Herpetol., 13: 174.

English Names

Assam Indonesian Treefrog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 111; Dinesh, Radhakrishnan, Gururaja, and Bhatta, 2009, Rec. Zool. Surv. India, Occas. Pap., 302: 122; Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 73).

Eerie Tree Frog (Das and Dutta, 1998, Hamadryad, 23: 67; Mathew and Sen, 2010, Pict. Guide Amph. NE India: 121; Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 73).

Xizang Warty Treefrog (Fei, 1999, Atlas Amph. China: 266-267).

Black-spotted Frog (Chanda, 2002, Handb. Indian Amph.: 182).


Isolated populations in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, northeastern India, and adjacent southeastern Xizang, China, possibly extending into Myanmar. See comment. 


Possibly a member of Hazelia (= Nyctixalus) according to Liem, 1970, Fieldiana, Zool., 57: 96, but he noted that the situation required more study. Provisionally transferred to Nyctixalus by Dubois, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 257. This transfer not recognized implicitly by Zhao and Adler, 1993, Herpetol. China: 160. Fei, 1999, Atlas Amph. China: 266-267, provided a brief account (as Theloderma moloch), a map, and figure. Li, Che, Murphy, Zhao, Zhao, Rao, and Zhang, 2009, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 53: 520, suggested on the basis of molecular evidence that this species is not a Theloderma, but more likely close to Philautus, although they refrained from providing a taxonomic remedy. Chanda, 2002, Handb. Indian Amph.: 182, and Sarkar and Ray, 2006, In Alfred (ed.), Fauna of Arunachal Pradesh, Part 1: 301, provided brief accounts. Dutta, 1997, Amph. India Sri Lanka: 72-73, provided relevant literature and range, and suggested the presence of this species in adjacent Myanmar and Xizang, China. See Orlov, Dutta, Ghate, and Kent, 2006, Russ. J. Herpetol., 13: 155-175, for brief comments. See map, description of geographic range and habitat, and conservation status (as Nyctixalus moloch) in Stuart, Hoffmann, Chanson, Cox, Berridge, Ramani, and Young, 2008, Threatened Amph. World: 517. Fei, Hu, Ye, and Huang, 2009, Fauna Sinica, Amph. 2: 750-752, provided an account and a spot map for China. Mathew and Sen, 2010, Pict. Guide Amph. NE India: 122-123, provided a brief characterization and photographs. Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2010, Colored Atlas of Chinese Amph.: 445, provided a brief account. Li, Rao, Murphy, and Zhang, 2011, Asian Herpetol. Res., Ser. 3, 2 (1) : 7, suggested that inclusion of this species within Theloderma rendered Theloderma non-monophyletic. Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 73, provided an account for Xizang, China. Rowley, Le, Hoang, Dau, and Cao, 2011, Zootaxa, 3098: 1-20, noted that at least based upon the existing molecular evidence "Theloderma" moloch is not a member of Theloderma. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543-583, confirmed this result in their molecular tree based on Genbank sequences, placing "Theloderma" moloch as the sister taxon of Kurixalus + (Raorchestes + Pseudophilautus). : 59–67, employing the same sequences verified the exclusion of "Theloderma" moloch from Theloderma; see further comment under the Theloderma generic record. Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2012, Colored Atlas Chinese Amph. Distr.: 525, provided an account (as Aquixalus idiootocus), photographs, and a range map for China. Poyarkov, Orlov, Moiseeva, Pawangkhanant, Ruangsuwan, Vassilieva, Galoyan, Nguyen, and Gogoleva, 2015, Russ. J. Herpetol., 22: 241–280, in their revision of Theloderma, discussed the status of this species and concluded that at this point that no taxonomic decision could be made although placing it within their Nyctixalini, resulting in them leaving this species in Theloderma sensu lato, unnassigned to subgenus. In a more taxon-dense study Biju, Senevirathne, Garg, Mahony, Kamei, Thomas, Shouche, Raxworthy, Meegaskumbura, and Van Bocxlaer, 2016, PLoS One, 11(1): e0145727: 1–17, have seemingly resolved the problem. They found that genetic samples from near the type locality (in northeastern India) grouped with other Theloderma species, while tissues associated with this nominal species by Li, Che, Murphy, Zhao, Zhao, Rao, and Zhang, 2009, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 53: 509–522, from Motuo, Xizang, China, correspond to Nasutixalus medogensis. This may affect the range statement but for the moment this remains unresolved. Sivongxay, Davankham, Phimmachak, Phoumixay, and Stuart, 2016, Zootaxa, 4147: 439–440, also discussed the problem. Li, Hou, Yu, Yan, Li, Jiang, Li, and Orlov, 2016, Russ. J. Herpetol., 23: 41–54, provided the first record in southeastern Xizang, China, in 102 years. Hou, Yu, Chen, Liao, Zhang, Chen, Li, and Orlov, 2017, Russ. J. Herpetol., 24: 115, also summarized the history of the problem. 

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