The Common Greenback frogs (H. erythraea) can be found across Southeast Asia, and is also known as the Red-eared Greenback or the Leaf Frog. The habitats of H. erythraea range from scrubland, grassland, and agricultural areas to urban disturbed areas. In addition, H. erythraeais a middle size frog with a snout-length from 30-75mm, which the size varies according to different sexes and maturity.
When evening approaches, the Giant Waterlily, the Victoria Amazonica, starts to bloom and the “squeak…squeak…squeak…” call of the H. erythraea can be heard around the garden. The females are bigger in size compared to the males, while the juveniles are much smaller and less attractive. When disturbed or threatened, these frogs are able to skip across the water surface to escape from predators. Furthermore, they are well camouflaged to their natural habitat, thus it is not easy to spot them resting on lily pads with lots of green plants in the background!
H. erythraea and other amphibian species play an important role in maintaining the wellness of humans and nature.
Firstly, a diversity of calls, a natural orchestra, produced by various nocturnal amphibians, as well as invertebrates, is a great relaxing treatment for us, human, after a long stressful day of work and heavy traffic in the city.
Secondly, amphibians are very abundant and often dominate ecosystems in terms of quantity, particularly in wetland and forest habitats. They are a vital part in food webs, as they are popular food choice for many predators and are also important predators themselves. A decline in amphibian population in the wild due to human activities will definitely affect our shared biosphere – more insects and less tertiary predators which leads to an unstable and unsustainable ecosystem. Since amphibians require fresh, clean aquatic habitats, they also serve as a biological indicator of environmental health.
Not forgetting to mention that amphibians are fascinating and beautiful creatures. There are some beautiful frogs around the world; i.e. the Poison Dart frog (Dendrobatidae spp), White’s Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) and Norhayati’s Flying Frog (Rhacophorus norhayatii), which are beautiful and unique in their own ways. Malaysian herpetologists are working hard to study the life cycle and behaviour of our native frogs, as well as exploring around the country to search for new species in the wild. One of our Night Walk guides, Evan Quah, is finishing his doctorate degree in the field of herpetology at University Sains Malaysia and has enchanted us with stories and information of reptiles and amphibians of Malaysia. His enthusiasm is truly infectious as he explores the garden with adventurous guests, young and old alike, searching for scaly friends in the dark.
“With Education, There Is No Fear.”
Amphibians have a lot to teach us about science: zoology and biology. By educating on the importance of amphibians to children and adults, it will not only increase awareness on their importance but it will help save the declining amphibian populations on earth.