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Common Tree Frog

Common name for an arboreal frog in the family Rhacophoridae, with the scientific designation Polypedates leucomystax. Its colour varies from greenish-grey (fig.) to a less common reddish-brown and it has four lines on its back, which may however be absent in some populations. It has the ability to cling onto almost any surface, using adhesive toe pads. Unlike geckoes, which use dry adhesion in which there is direct contact between the toe pads and the surface using ‘setae’, i.e. microscopically tiny hair-like tubular structures with cup-like tips (fig.) that spread out and create intermolecular attraction between the ‘setae’ and the surface, tree frogs use wet adhesion, i.e. they secrete a watery mucus from mucous glands, which creates a thin layer of fluid between groove-like channels on their toe pads and the surface they are attached to. This produces a viscosity and surface tension that creates a cohesion strong enough to bear the weight of the animal. Polypedates leucomystax occurs commonly throughout many parts of Southeast Asia, habiting disturbed forests, scrubland, parks and gardens, where it dwells in shrubs, bushes and trees in wet areas, near freshwater, as well as in puddles on wet ground. While clinging onto a branch, it lays it eggs in a foamy mass (fig.), that it sticks onto vegetation overhanging a pond or other water source, and which will in due time harden into a protective casing (fig.). This allows for the young tadpoles to fall into the water below, once the eggs hatch. This species is also commonly known as Golden Tree Frog (fig.), Golden Gliding Frog, Flying Leopard Frog, Four-lined Tree Frog, Striped Tree Frog and Asian White-lips, and in Thai it is referred to as pahd bahn (ปาดบ้าน). See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1) and (2), TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2), and WATCH VIDEO (1) and (2).