The marbled pigmy frog

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A marbled pigmy frog is seen in Bijia Hill Park in Futian District on July 13, 2021.

Definitely one of the most stunning amphibians that can be found around Shenzhen is the marbled pygmy frog (Microhyla pulchra), or the beautiful pygmy frog, as some people would call them. Using the epithet “beautiful” to refer to this fascinating animal is not in vain, for it is very beautiful indeed.


The marbled frog is a triangular-shaped small species characterized by having a striking pattern on their bodies that resembles those on marble stones. You can see a flashy yellowish band on the base of its legs, which are quite long in proportion to the size of their body and therefore provide the species with a powerful jump in spite of its reduced body size. They are normally three to five centimeters long.


The marbled pygmy frog is an entirely nocturnal animal that feeds on small insects like ants. They are fairly difficult to find except during their mating season, when they become especially active and noisy with their courtship calls that can be a bit deafening for us.


Frogs in general are fantastic indicators of the quality of an environment since they are characterized by having a very sensitive skin capable of exchanging gases with the environment. Basically any small change in the physical or chemical components of the water may be deadly for them. It speaks positively about the ecosystems around our city that most of them allow these amazing animals to thrive.


Frogs are among those animals that serve our environment in many ways. Their ecological services include eating as well as being eaten, keeping snakes, birds, fish and even mammal populations stable by being eaten and reining the number of insects and other small animals by consuming them. So protecting frogs is a daily task for all of us.


Keeping our water streams clean and our parks as protected as possible is something that any of us can do to help maintain a positive balance in the ecological dynamics of our beloved city.