IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Leptobrachium chapaense, the Chapa spadefoot toad, is a common and widely spread toad reported from Northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and southern Yunnan province, China.  It lives in evergreen broadleaf forests at moderate to high altitudes from 800-2,400 m asl (Frost 2016; van Dijk 2004).

A medium-sized toad, females (58.7-79.9 mm) measure larger than males (53.5-65.5 mm).  L. chapaense has a dark chocolate brown dorsum, with small orange spotting on lower back and limbs.  Its belly is dark with white marbling, and its throat and legs are white but with significant amounts of dark mottling.  The top half of its iris is white, blue or black, which distinguishes it from L. pullum and L. hasseltii, which have red coloring on the top of the iris.  It can be distinguished from other Leptobrachium by its dark ventral surface coloring, and because it has no black spotting on its back.  It has a short body, broad head, and large eyes.  Its feet and hands are not webbed.  The type specimen was collected in Chapa (hence its common name).  Reproductively active individuals in amplexus were reported from a rapidly flowing, steep mountain stream in early May (1996) in Tam Dao (Lathrop et al. 1998).

Although considered common in Cuc Phuong National Park in Viet Nam, the Chapa spadefoot toad is difficult to find and rare in China, and the 1997 Thai Red List identified it as a vulnerable species.  It is threatened by habitat destruction and degradation, especially as a result of the building of dams (van Dijk et al. 2004).

Recent molecular analyses indicate that Leptobrachium chapaense is a species complex composed of more than one lineage.  In particular, specimen from Myanmar appear to represent a distinct, and possibly unnamed, species (Matsui et al. 2010; Chen et al. 2013; Wogan 2012).


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© Dana Campbell

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