In stark contrast to the greens and browns of many other frogs, the spiny tree frog (Nyctixalus spinosus) is a reddish-tan, covered with small, white-tipped spines. It is from these spines that the species derives both its common and scientific names. There is a large white spot on either side of the head next to the ear drum, and the snout is pointed (2).
Two pairs of spiny crests run above the spiny tree frog’s ear drum and down the centre of the head. The hind limbs are longer than the whole of the rest of the body, and are lightly banded with white. The toes are heavily webbed for propulsion in water, and each toe ends in a large, sticky pad, which enables the spiny tree frog to climb smooth, vertical surfaces such as leaves (2) (3).
Like many other amphibians, the spiny tree frog passes through a tadpole stage. In contrast to the adult frog, tadpoles lack legs, are elongated and have a tail (4). The spiny tree frog tadpole is more flattened in comparison to related species (2), and its body has a purplish tinge (4). The tadpole of this species does not need to feed (2) (5) and so has reduced mouthparts (2). It develops the colour and proportions of the mature frog through the process of metamorphosis (4).
- Male snout-vent length: 3.0 - 3.7 cm (2)
- Female snout-vent length: 3.6 - 3.9 cm (2)