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 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 1:22 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
The small, but fabled Frog Pond at Sarawak's Kubah National Park has already been the subject of quite a few posts here, notably by frogshot, but I've also shown a few critters from there. It's hard not to, as there are about 50 types of frogs to be found, but as a die-hard orang ular (snake man) I had no idea I would ever devote an entire post to a single frog.

Last Saturday we were invited to a dinner & nightwalk party at one of the guesthouses at Kubah, and after the generous host had served up some very tasty Sarawak Laksa, we headed up the road to the Pond. The road is flanked by serpent-friendly ditches, and I was hoping to provide a few party favors by showing everyone how to find snakes in there. Alas, it being the second season (see Footnote 1), after we had found the first snake (a little Tropidolaemus wagleri baby, definitively the local "trash snake"), the rain came down with all its tropical might, and instead of continuing our leisurely amble along the ditches towards the pond, we dove under umbrellas and rain ponchos and tried to reach the shelter at the Pond as fast as possible.

Unless you possess the poetic power of a Homer (no, not Simpson), it is impossible to describe in all its glory the aural pandemonium that awaited us at the Pond. The water, usually about three feet deep, now reached up almost to the surrounding boardwalk, and the hurricane-force rain (sans wind) was whipping the anurans into an unearthly frenzy. Well, I ain't no Homer (Simpson or otherwise), so let me just say that the frogs were LOUDER than the rain, and that means something around these parts.

We walked around the little pool, spotting all manner of ribbits left and right - Mahogany Frogs, Bornean Eared Frogs, Hylarana raniceps, Rhacophorus pardalis, to name a few - and hearing dozens more. But the rain, generously assisted by my inadequate dimestore umbrella, had somehow sapped my hunting spirit, so after a while I just sat in the shelter and let the others do the herping. That turned out to be quite an efficient strategy, for eventually the cry we had all been waiting for rang out from the left side of the pond: "WALLAAAACE!!!!". One of the more thorough guys had spotted a Wallace's Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus sitting under the boards, and we all rushed over and then clambered over one another to get a shot of the rare beast. It was sitting in a really bad spot, to take photos in situ, wading neck-deep into the water would have been the only option. But why do people have 13-year old kids if not for frog-catching, a discipline my son is particularly adept at? He snatched the anuran airliner off his perch and carried it to onto a twig close to the shelter and far from any body of water. After a few photos and even more escape attempts and heroic recaptures, Hans took Mr. Wallace into the shelter. There we examined the finer details of the flyboy's anatomy and its almost lizard-like skin - yes, it's as rough as it looks! - and eventually it calmed down enough to just lay there on his back. Later it would even sit just as peacefully on Hans' hand, apparently unperturbed by the rarity-crazed shutterbug mayhem around him.

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"Oh grandmother, what big hands you have!" "All the better to soar with the chickens..."
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Just imagine what Alfred Russell could have achieved with an iPhone....
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Footnote 1: There are two seasons in Borneo: the Wet Season, and the Very Wet Season.

For further reading, here's a nice video of how these guys perform their aerobatics.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 6:40 am 

Joined: February 11th, 2011, 8:09 pm
Posts: 75
THE BEST. Thanks Hans. It's hard to top a Rhacophorus in the animal kingdom let alone the herpetological.

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 7:36 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm
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Very cool frog!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 4:24 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 9:48 pm
Posts: 277
Very cool find Hans, they are amazing frogs indeed. I do wonder if it was "content", feigning death, or in shock, though :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 5:01 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
TNWJackson wrote:
Very cool find Hans, they are amazing frogs indeed. I do wonder if it was "content", feigning death, or in shock, though :lol:

All of the above, in no particular order?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 5:03 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 9:48 pm
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Haha...perhaps contentment comes last. They say that once you accept that your death is imminent, you enter a state of blissful detachment :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 9th, 2012, 5:13 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
True!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 12:04 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:30 am
Posts: 377
Location: U.K.
Fine looking
Quote:
anuran airliner
. Great find.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 1:01 am 
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Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm
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That is a most interesting frog and story about its discovery. Great pics of very special frog.

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 7:32 am 
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Joined: February 6th, 2011, 9:09 pm
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Location: Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Nice find, Hans! Now I am sure that a mystery frog I found many years ago in a kindergarten surrounded by mountains, that have since been wiped out by evil mountaintop removal mining, is in the same genus. Not sure if mine could fly (don't think that species ranges into my area, though Draco does), but it was green and had brilliant yellow sides and, I think, red eyes. Looked somewhat like that Costa Rican species.

Anyways, it's not often that a frog is a hilight of a trip, but this qualifies. I will also be "sacrificing" my children (in the mud) as you do. Great idea! :twisted: I remember I used to love to get dirty as well, when I was a wee lad.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 8:49 pm 
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Joined: June 12th, 2010, 9:28 am
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Location: Monterey Peninsula, CA
A fantastical flying frog! Did you try to get it to jump from up high and float to the ground?

John


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 8:57 pm 

Joined: September 8th, 2011, 5:12 pm
Posts: 335
Location: Oxford, MS
So very jealous! I'd love to see both R. wallacei and R. nigripalmatus at some point. Such stellar frogs...


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 9:07 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
There's a Rhacophorus wallacei? I thought the only gliders were Mr. Blackpalm here and these other three.

EDIT: There's more:
- http://frogsofborneo.org/Families/rhaco ... dalis.html
- http://frogsofborneo.org/Families/rhaco ... norum.html

Is there a comprehensive site on all gliding frog species?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 10th, 2012, 9:30 pm 

Joined: September 8th, 2011, 5:12 pm
Posts: 335
Location: Oxford, MS
Maybe I'm getting my species confused... Or my naturalists. I swear there was a wallacei, but I guess I'm mistaken (now I'm going to have to figure out what I was thinking of..). Either way, I actually meant R. reinwardtii (the blue webbed one!). I've only ever seen R. pardalis (which is cool, but nothing compared to nigripalmatus or reinwardtii).


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:11 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 4:51 am
Posts: 191
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Hans, great story telling and a cool frog. I would love to see a video of their gliding capabilities. The frog's design reminds me of those wingsuits.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:46 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
You can find a video of its flying skills in the last line of my post (I knew I shouldn't have hidden it there...)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 4:38 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:17 am
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Great post and great video link!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:06 pm 
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Joined: April 15th, 2011, 12:29 pm
Posts: 743
Location: Southern Indiana
Sweet! That's an anuran I'd love to see someday.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying Frog
PostPosted: January 11th, 2012, 5:19 pm 
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Joined: June 29th, 2010, 5:50 am
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Location: northern Westchester co., NY
gorgeous


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