This species is found in central, south-western and southern China, including Hong Kong. Its range in Viet Nam is difficult to define since many older records of P. spinosa probably refer to other Paa taxa, including P. verrucospina and P. yunnanensis. Bourret (1942:291) stated that he encountered P. spinosa only from Mao Son and Bac-Kan. It has been recorded from 200-1,500m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It lives and breeds in rocky streams in evergreen forest and open countryside on hills and mountains. It breeds in streams, and the eggs are laid in water under stones.
This species is believed to have undergone a dramatic decline in China. Bourret (1942) encountered rather large numbers in Mao Son, but also noted intensive collection. It was recorded to be common in Ha Giang Province, Viet Nam (R. Bain pers. comm.).
It has been collected for consumption throughout its range for many decades and such harvesting still continues; even in the 1930s it was traded from Mao Son as far as Hanoi (Bourret 1942). It is presumably also impacted by extensive habitat degradation, due to agriculture and the construction of dams (the latter involving changes in hydrology).
It is present in several protected areas in China. One location in Viet Nam is within Tay Con Linh II Nature Reserve. Harvest management or cessation, and the safeguarding of suitable habitat are priorities for the conservation of this species. Clarification of the taxonomic identity and the distribution of Paa frogs in this region are necessary.
Michael Wai Neng Lau, Geng Baorong, Gu Huiqing, Peter Paul van Dijk, Raoul Bain 2004. Quasipaa spinosa. In: IUCN 2014