Common Bush Frog
Polypedates leucomystax (Gravenhorst, 1829)

Family: Rhacophoridae - Asian Tree Frogs

Order: Anura - Frogs

Class: Amphibia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Least Concern

Male: 37-60 mm

Female: 57-75 mm



Common and widespread throughout  southern Asia, from Nepal and possibly Bhutan to Yunnan Province in China, and throughout tropical South-east Asia. Introduced to Japan, the Philippines and Papua (Indonesian New Guinea).

Polypedates leucomystax, Bornean form (four-lined treefrog). Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Other common names: White-lipped tree frog, four-lined tree frog (Bornean form)


Adult: Moderately large tree frog with a slender, flattened body, sharply pointed but blunt-edged snout, and long hind limbs. The head is longer than it is broad. The skin is smooth on the upper surface and coarse on the belly; body colouration is beige or greenish to rich brown above and white below. Patterning may take the form of irregularly-scattered pale spots dorsally, or four dark lines running down the back (the latter form characteristic of animals from the island of Borneo), with dark cross-barring on the legs. The inner thighs may be spotted with lighter colours, and the throat may be dark-spotted. There is a curved fold over the top of the prominent tympanum. The tympanum itself is around 3/4 the diameter of the eye. The fingers and toes are long and bear expanded, round pads, those on the toes being smaller than those on the fingers. The fingers are unwebbed, the toes three-quarters webbed. The skin between the eyes is fused to the skull.


Pattern details of a four-striped form. Sarawak, Malaysia.



Tadpole: Large-bodied, brown, ovoid, with eyes set at the sides of the head and the mouth below. The tail fin is relatively tall. The snout is tipped dorsally with a silver-white spot. Tadpoles may reach 50 mm in total length.

Common bush frog displaying prominent supratympanal fold. Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand


Egg: Creamy-white, without surrounding jelly, and encased in a foam nest. 


Common bush frog male calling. Kamping Speu Province, Cambodia

Call: A single-tone, low-pitched "kwaark"

Common bush frog. Kampot Province, Cambodia

Cosmopolitan throughout its range, including roadsides, urban areas (including human habitation), agricultural land and secondary forest, although apparently less common in undisturbed forest. Different species within the group now defined as P. leucomystax may have differing habitat requirements within this range. Any shallow standing water appears suitable as breeding habitat, including dam and garden ponds, roadside ditches and artificial pools.

Altitudinal range: 0 - 1,500 m


The adult diet includes insects and small vertebrates. The species is arboreal and can occur as high as the forest canopy, but is more commonly found on the ground than other members of its genus.

Courtship behaviour: In common with other Polypedates species, common bush frog males call near shallow water, and may do so in groups.



Reproductive biology: While still in amplexus with one or more males, females secrete mucus and eggs which they agitate with their hindlimbs, creating a foam nest which may be affixed to vegetation or rocks overhanging water or to the substrate at water's edge. The eggs, which typically number 300-500 in a clutch but may be more or less numerous, develop into tadpoles within the nest and then break free, falling into the water where they complete their development.



Common bush frog producing a foam nest in an artificial pool. Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand

The status of different populations of Polypedates leucomystax is unclear and requires further research; however, researchers consider that more than one valid species is included under this name (Desmos et al, 2004). Additionally, populations towards the east of the species' range referred to as Polypedates megacephalus are also included by these authors as P. leucomsytax.



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

Desmos, A. et al (2004) Polypedates leucomystax. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <>. Downloaded on 9 September 2008
Inger, R. F. and Stuebing, R. B. (1997) A Field Guide to the Frogs of Borneo, Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd., Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


Calling male common bush frog. Kampot Province, Cambodia.

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