AmphibiaWeb - Platypelis ando


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Platypelis ando
family: Microhylidae
subfamily: Cophylinae
genus: Platypelis
Species Description: Scherz MD, Köhler J, Vences M, Glaw F 2019 A new yellow-toed Platypelis species (Anura, Microhylidae, Cophylinae) from the Maroantsetra region, northeastern Madagascar. Evolutionary Systematics 3: 75-83.

© 2019 Jörn Köhler (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR) - Provisional
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Platypelis ando is a slender small frog, with males having a snout-vent length of 16.9 – 18.7 mm. No females were described in the species description. The head is characterized by a rounded snout, non-protuberant nostrils closer to the tip of the snout than the eye, a distinct and concave canthus rostralis, a hidden tympanum, and indistinct supratympanic fold. The skin is overall smooth, however slightly granular on the abdomen and ventral legs. The species does not have dorsolateral folds (Scherz et al. 2019).

The forelimbs are slender. The palms have an invisible outer metacarpal tubercle and a distinct inner metacarpal tubercule that forms a large protuberance at the base of the first finger. The fingers have small and single subarticular tubercles, lack webbing, have rounded and wide finger discs that are somewhat truncate, and have small lateral fringes. The relative length of the fingers is 1 < 2 < 4 < 3. There are no nuptial pads. The hind limbs are slender, with the tibiotarsal articulation reaching the tympanum when the hindlimb is adpressed along the body. The tibia length is about a third of the snout-vent length. The foot has small and oblong inner metatarsal tubercles. The toes webbing between the third fourth and fifth toes, indistinct subarticular tubercles, and broad and truncated disks. The third toe distinctly shorter than the fifth, and the relative length of the toes is 1 < 2 < 5 < 3 < 4 (Scherz et al. 2019).

Platypelis ando can be differentiated by its small body size when compared to other similar species within the same genus, such as: P. alticola, P. barbouri P. cowanii, P. grandis, P. mavomavo, P. milloti, P. olgae, P. pollicaris, P. tsaratananaensis, and P. tuberifera. Platypelis ando can also be distinguished from P. tetra, by having smaller dorsal tubercles, have brown chevron-like marking on the dorsum, but lacking white dorsal spots. Platypelis karaenae and P. ando can be differentiated by the latter having a brown coloration with specific dorsal patterning, a short supra tympanic dark brown marking, and less distinct snout. Morphologically (and phylogenetically), P. ando most closely resembles P. ravus, but can be differentiated by the former the lacking yellow coloration on the venter, but having a yellow-orangish coloration of dorsal fingers and toe tips and the chevron marking on dorsum. Bioaccustacially, P. ando has a notably longer call duration than P. barbouri, P. karenae, P. milloti, P. pollicaris, P. tsaratananaensis, and P. tuberifera. The dominant frequency of P. ando’s advertisement call also differentiates it from P. barbouri, P. milloti, P. pollicaris, P. ravus, P. tsaratananaensis, and P. tuberifera (Scherz et al. 2019).

Although P. ando may look very similar to a few species of Cophyla, they can be differentiated the latter having slightly larger body size than P. ando and from their slightly different call parameters. More specifically, P. ando has a shorter fifth toe than third toe and brown chevron on the dorsum that differentiate it from Cophyla fortuna. Furthermore, Anodonthyla and P. ando can be differentiated by the absence of a finger-like prepollex in P. ando males (Scherz et al. 2019).

In life, the dorsum is olive brown. There is an olive-green bar between the eyes and the supratympanic folds are dark colored. Behind the head, over the scapular region, is a dark brown chevon marking with the pointing towards the eye bar. Posterior to the chevon, in the middle of the back, there is slight greenish saddle marking with a broken, dark brown posterior edge. The hind limbs have a mottled olive and brown coloration dorsally, with dark gray stripes. The dorsal surface of the forelimbs are more yellowish, both the finger and toe tips are yellow with small flecks. Laterally, the head is mottled olive and green. Ventrally, the skin is somewhat transparent and pale mauve in color with some small specks. The iris is gold with black flecks. In preservative, specimens fade with the background color becoming beige and the distinct patterning turning to an indistinct brownish gray color (Scherz et al. 2019).

There are few known specimens, however the paratypes are mostly consistent with the holotype. Some individuals were darker in overall coloration. One specimen had a distinct green inguinal marking and a white venter, different from other specimens (Scherz et al. 2019).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Madagascar


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Platypelis ando is found in low elevation tropical rainforests of northeastern Madagascar. At the time of the species description, it was only known from the type locality Ambodivoangy at an elevation of 100 meters, however it is likely this species also occurs in lowland forests of the nearby Makira Natural Park (Scherz et al. 2019).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This is a rare terrestrial species that is active at dusk and night time hours in Ambodiviangy at around 1.8 m above ground (Scherz et al. 2019).

Based on the behavior of other Platypelis, P. ando likely reproduces in water filled cavities of terrestrial plants and the tadpoles likely remain within the plant for a considerable time, feeding within the plant cavity (Scherz et al. 2019).

Males exhibit significantly longer and higher frequency of repeated advertisement calls than other species within the genus. After dusk, males repeatedly produce high-pitched whistles with a dominant frequency of 5380 – 5432 Hz, pulse rate of 20 calls per minute, and duration of 2200 – 3567 ms (Scherz et al. 2019)

Trends and Threats
Scherz et al. (2019) recommend that P. ando be recognized as “Critically Endangered” according to the IUCN Red List criteria due to the fact that the species is only known from one type locality and is threatened by anthropogenic habitat destruction. However, to investigate the potential range of the species, the authors suggest further research targeting the Makira reserve, a protected area near the town of Ambodivoangy.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss


Based on Maximum Likelihood of 116S rRNA, P. ando is sister to P. ravus, a species found in the same region, but at higher elevations. The next most closely related species is P. milloti followed by the clade compose of P. karenae and P. tuberifera. The genus Cophyla is sister to Platypelis (Scherz et al. 2019).

The species epithet, “ando” dedicated to the authors’ friend and colleague, Dr. Andolalao Rakotoarison, for her exceptional contributions to systematics and taxonomy of the Malagasy microhylid fauna (Scherz et al. 2019).

In 1992, a Platypelis species, assigned to P. occultans near Voloina was found 30 km south of this species' type locality, suggesting a possible conspecific relation, but more studies are necessary to confirm the identity (Scherz et al. 2019).


Scherz, M.D., Köhler, J., Vences, M., Glaw, F. (2019). “A new yellow-toed Platypelis species (Anura, Microhylidae, Cophylinae) from the Maroantsetra region, northeastern Madagascar.” Evolutionary Systematics, 3(1), 75-83. [link]

Originally submitted by: Annie Conway (2022-01-25)
Description by: Annie Conway (updated 2022-01-25)
Distribution by: Annie Conway (updated 2022-01-25)
Life history by: Annie Conway (updated 2022-01-25)
Trends and threats by: Annie Conway (updated 2022-01-25)
Comments by: Annie Conway (updated 2022-01-25)

Edited by: Arjun Mehta (2022-01-25)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Platypelis ando <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 15, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 15 Apr 2024.

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