Theloderma phrynoderma is a small camouflaged arboreal frog (family Rhacophoridae), part of the T. asperum species complex.From the known samples, it inhabits moist evergreen subtropical and tropical rainforests between about 60-1400 m. above sea level in the central hills of Myanmar.Like other Theloderma species, it is thought to be dependent on small water pools in tree trunks for reproduction, making it sensitive to increased deforestation occurring in Myanmar (Dever et al. In Press).
Two specimens were collected by Leonardo Fea from the Karen hills of Myanmar (then Burma) in 1888 and subsequently described by Boulenger 1893, although he did not keep record of which specimen he documented.Boulenger recognized a close relationship between these two speciemen and T. leporosum, but constructed a new genus, Phrynoderma, into which he put this species, on the basis of its volmerine teeth and notched tongue (which turned out to be an artifact).The taxonomy of this species (as known by these two specimens) was revised multiple times, (described by Dever In press), variously allied with genera Philautus, Rhacophorus, and Theloderma, and variously considered a one of the many synonyms of T. asperum (Frost 2014; Inger 1954; Delarme et al. 2005).
Due to the endemic and cryptic nature of the species and lack of biological sampling in Myanmar, the species had not been collected again until a 2010 expedition conducted by the California Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division-Forestry Department of Myanmar to target this species and other Theloderma species, which they found in the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve.
Morphological and molecular characters from the newly collected samples of this species confirm their identity as Theloderma, and place the samples as sister taxa to T. asperum.Devers et al. (In Press) redescribed and diagnosed the species and documented diversity from reference specimens.
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