Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Conservation Status of Philippine Frogs (2010)

I. Introduction to the Philippine Anuran Diversity

The Philippine frogs consist of eight families and 106 species. These are widely distributed to different habitats—rocks, forest floors, leaf axils, streams, flooded rice fields and limestone crevices.
Basically, the key to Philippine Anurans is a collection of keys to different families of Philippine frogs. Eighty-four dichotomous keys were compiled.
            Nowadays, the number of our endangered frogs is increasing—this is not a good picture because they serve as bioindicators of air and water pollution since they can breathe and drink through their skin. Anurans are also found to be very useful for agricultural purposes due to their ability to act as a biological pest controlling agents. Moreover, most of the endangered frogs are native and endemic, thus, they should be treated as natural and living treasures that could just appear once or twice in the earth’s lifetime, specifically in our country’s lifetime.

II. The Distribution and Conservation Status of Philippine Frogs

Sixteen of the native and endemic anurans are already endangered and one of is critically endangered. Thirty-one are considered vulnerable.
            Not all frogs in the Philippines are native, some are only introduced and even invasive. One of the invasive frogs, the Giant Marine Toad or Bullfrog (Rhinella marina) from the Americas, has already spread out all over the Philippines. It is the most widely distributed alien frog in the Philippines.

III. Factors threatening the number of Philippine Anurans

            There are several factors affecting the increasing number of threatened Philippine frogs—habitat destruction, fungal infections, herbicides and pesticides, introduced predators and invasive species, human exploitation and climate change.

IV. Promoters of the conservation of the Philippine Anurans

            IUCN Species Programme (International Union for Conservation of Nature) promotes the conservation of species, subspecies, varieties and subpopulations on a global scale, including the Philippines. The organization highlights threatened taxa.
            Herpwatch Philippines is a non-profit organization whose members are academic herpetologists, conservation biologists, wildlife managers, biodiversity specialists, students, and laypersons. The goal of the group is to promoting herpetological studies and conservation of amphibians and reptiles in the Philippines.
            ZOO 145, a Herpetology class in UPLB that is led by Dr. Leticia Afuang, aims to help the students to have a deep knowledge on the Philippine Herpetofauna as well as awareness on their conservation status.


            The Philippine Anurans play an important role in the ecosystem since they serve as bioindicators and they are a part of food webs. As of 2010, the Philippine Anurans consist of 106 species but 47 of these, all native and endemic, are already threatened due to habitat destruction, parasites, infections, predators and other invasive species. Thus, the conservation of the Philippine Anurans is very important so organizations and individuals promote the protection and preservation of these frogs.


Key to the Families of Philippine Amphibians by ZOO145 H-1L 1st Semester 2009-2010.

Inger, R. F. 1954. Systematics and zoogeography of Philippine Amphibia. Fieldiana: Zoology, 33(4):183-531.

Taylor. E. H. 1920. Amphibians and Turtles of the Philippine Islands. Philippine Journal of Science 16: 111-144; 213-359.

Brown, W.C., Alcala, A.C. and Diesmos, A.C. (1999). Four New Species of the Genus Platymantis (Amphibia:Ranidae) from Luzon Island, Philippines. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences vol. 51 (12):449-460.

Brown, R.M., J.A. McGuire and A.C. Diesmos. (2000). Status of Some Philippine Frogs Referred to Rana Everetti (Anura: Ranidae), Description of a New Species, and Resurrection of Rana Igorota Taylor 1922. Herpetologica 56(1): 81-104.

Brown, W.C., Alcala, A.C., Diesmos, A.C. and Alcala, E. (1997). Species of the Guentheri Group of Platymantis (Amphibia:Ranidae) from the Philippines, with Descriptions of Four New Species. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences vol. 50 (1):1-20.

Brown, W.C., Alcala, A.C. and Walter, R.M. (1997). Species of the Hazelae Group of Platymantis (Amphibia:Ranidae) from the Philippines, with Descriptions of Two New Species. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences vol. 49 (11):405-421.

Brown, W.C., A.C. Alcala, P.S. Ong, and A.C. Diesmos. (1999). A new species of Platymantis (Amphibia: Ranidae) from the Sierra Madre Mountains, Luzon Island, Philippines. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 112(3):510-514.

Diesmos, A.C., R.M. Brown, and A.C. Alcala. (2002). New Species of Narrow-Mouthed Frog (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae; Genus Kaloula) from the Mountains of Southern Luzon and Polillo Islands, Philippines. Copeia 2002(4):1037-1051.

Diesmos, A.C. Luzon Island, Philippines Frogs of Mt. Maquiling and Mt. Banahao. (Photos)

Evans, B.J., R.M. Brown, J.A. McGuire, J. Supriatna, N. Andayani, A. Diesmos, D. Iskandar, D.J. Melnick and D.C. Cannatella. 2003. Phylogenetics of Fanged Frogs: Testing Biogeographical Hypotheses at the Interface of the Asian and Australian Faunal Zones. Syst. Biol. 52(6):794–819.

Siler, C.D., C.W. Linkem, A.C. Diesmos and A.C. Alcala. 2007. A NEW SPECIES OF PLATYMANTIS (AMPHIBIA: ANURA: RANIDAE)FROM PANAY ISLAND, PHILIPPINES. Herpetologica, 63(3):351–364.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <http://www.iucnredlist.org>.