Asian Banded Bullfrog
Kaloula pulchra (Gray, 1831)

Family: Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Female Asian banded bullfrog, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand.

                        Male            Female

Adult length:    54-67 mm    55-75 mm

Tadpole length: 25-31 mm


Widespread in South and Southeast Asia, ranging from northeastern India to China on the mainland, throughout the Malay Peninsula and to Sulawesi in Indonesia. Populations in Borneo and Taiwan, and possibly on other islands, represent human introductions.

Other common names: Asian painted bullfrog, common Asian bullfrog, ox frog, piebald digging frog, Malayan narrow-mouthed toad, sticky frog.



Adult: A squat, round frog with a head much wider than long and a short, rounded snout, giving it a somewhat squashed appearance. The tympanum is hidden. Digits are long, with the first finger is shorter than the second; fingers are blunt and unwebbed, with slightly expanded tips. The hindlegs are short and stout. Toes are blunt and webbed only at the base. There is a flattened spade-like flange beneath the heel. Ground colour is dark brown above and cream-white with scattered brown spots ventrally, with a bumpy or 'pebbly' appearance to the skin. A wide, irregular  tan band runs along each side of the dorsum from the eye to the groin; a thick tan bar across the head connects the two bands in a 'horseshoe' shape; the rest of the head is brown. There is indistinct tan barring across the legs. A think black mid-dorsall line may be present.

Asian banded bullfrog dorsal view.


Call: Characterised by Inger and Steubing (2005) as a "loud groaning honk".

Tadpole: Black, with transparent fins and eyes set on the sides of the head. No tail filament is present.

Similar species: Adults of the median-striped bullfrog (K. mediolineata) exhibit similar patterning, but can reliably be distinguished by the presence of a wide tan mid-dorsal stripe from the groin up the lower half of the back. Tadpoles of this species possess a spiracle that empties forward of the anus; those of K. pulchra empty behind or adjacent to the anus.



During activity periods, the Asian banded bullfrog is predominantly terrestrial in a range of anthropogenic habitats, although will sometimes climb. The species is unknown from primary forest. A fossorial frog, it burrows into detritus, leaf litter or human rubbish to seek shelter.

Elevation: 0 - 750 m



Species of Kaloula defend themselves by inflating their bodies and exuding a white, latex-like substance when alarmed.

Reproductive behaviour: After heavy rains, animals congregate around temporary pools. Males call while floating on the water surface and inflating their bodies. Females lay eggs on the water surface.

Diet: Adults subsist almost entirely on ants. Tadpoles are filter-feeders, sifting micro-organisms from the water.

Asian banded bullfrog exuding latex. Note also the black mid-dorsal stripe.




Berry, P. Y. (1975) The Amphibian Fauna of Peninsular Malaysia, Tropical Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Heyer, W.R. (1971) Descriptions of some tadpoles from Thailand Fieldiana: Zoology 58 (7): 83-91

Inger, R.F. and Steubing, R.B. (2005) A Field Guide to the Frogs of Borneo Second Edition Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu: 201pp

Kuangyang, L., Zhigang, Y., Haitao, S., Baorong, G., van Dijk, P.P., Iskandar, D., Inger, R., Dutta, S., Sengupta, S., Uddin Sarker, S., Asmat, G.S.M. 2004. Kaloula pulchra. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Thy, N. and Holden, J. (2008) A Field Guide to the Amphibians of Cambodia Fauna & Flora International, Phnom Penh: 127pp

            Range            Description            Habitat            Behaviour            References

Frontal view of Kaloula pulchra. Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand