Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Javan whipping frog

Polypedates leucomystax, Johann Ludwig Christian Gravenhorst, 1829

(In Thai: ปาดบ้าน)

Polypedates leucomystax is a species in the shrub frog family Rhacophoridae. It is known under numerous common names, including common tree frog, four-lined tree frog, golden tree frog or striped tree frog. Many past authors have united it with the common Indian tree frog in P. maculatus (or Rhacophorus maculatus, as was common in older times), but today they are generally considered distinct species. In its native range, it is also called "white-lipped tree frog", but this name is otherwise applied to a species of true tree frogs (family Hylidae).

Polypedates leucomystax is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN. It is in fact a species complex containing various cryptic species within it.


Previously, P. leucomystex was thought to distribute below the Red River of Vietnam and in western Yunnan, while P. megacephalus can be found above the Red River and in Northeast India. However, recent genetic studies revealed that the natural barriers between these species are the Isthmus of Kra and the Tenasserim Range, where P. leucomystax can be found below the isthmus and west of the range.

The Polypedates leucomystax complex began diverging during the Pliocene, and spread quickly after the Pleistocene due to human activity. The range of P. leucomystax has recently expanded in the Philippines and Indonesia due to the widespread conversion of forests into agricultural-use land. It is also frequently found in trans-island agricultural shipments. Lineages on the Indochina mainland are more diverse.

In Indonesia, it has been found throughout the archipelago in Borneo, Mentawai, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali, Lombok, Natuna Islands, Anambas Islands, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, and Timor, and has also been introduced to Papua. In Japan, where it has been introduced, it is found on the islands of Okinawa, Tonaki, Kurima, Miyako, Ie, Iheya, Izena, Sesoko, and Yabuchi.

4 major haplotype clades of P. leucomystax have been recognized by Brown, et al. (2010), with the clades other than the southern Sunda region clade likely to be cryptic species.

  • southern Sunda region: Java–Sumatra ("true" P. leucomystax; type locality: Java)
  • northern Sunda region: Peninsular Malaysia, northern Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), and southern Philippines (most basal clade)
  • Sulawesi (with the name P. celebensis sp. nov. suggested; 4 different sub-clades have been differentiated for each of the 4 "prongs" or peninsulas of Sulawesi Island)
  • northern Philippines (with the name P. quadrilineatus sp. nov. suggested; includes a basal variety from Lombok)

Divergent varieties that are either P. cf. leucomystax or P. cf. megacephalus have been found in southern China (including Hainan) and Vietnam.


Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, rivers, intermittent rivers, freshwater lakes, intermittent freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, freshwater springs, rocky shores, coastal freshwater lagoons, arable land, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, urban areas, water storage areas, ponds, aquaculture ponds, irrigated land, seasonally flooded agricultural land, and introduced vegetation.

In captivity

This species of tree frog is commonly kept in captivity in vivariums and terrariums by both hobbyists and professional.

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Scientific classification

Polypedates leucomystax

Common names

  • English:
    • Javan whipping frog
    • Common tree frog
    • Four-lined tree frog
    • White-lipped tree frog
  • Thai: ปาดบ้าน


  • Polypedates teraiensis, Alain Dubois (1987)
  • Polypedates rugosus, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1841)
  • Hyla leucomystax, Johann Ludwig Christian Gravenhorst (1829)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


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Polypedates leucomystax - Kra Buri District, Ranong
Polypedates leucomystax - Kra Buri District, Ranong
Polypedates leucomystax - Tha Chana District, Surat Thani
Polypedates leucomystax - Takua Pa Disrict, Phang-Nga
Polypedates leucomystax - Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
Polypedates leucomystax - Khao Sok National Park
Polypedates leucomystax - Khao Sok National Park

Range Map

Distribution map of Javan whipping frog, Polypedates leucomystax in Thailand
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kapo Waterfall Forest Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Nan National Park
  • Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Ko Lanta National Park
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Kra Buri District, Ranong
  • Lam Nam Kra Buri National Park
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Ranong District, Ranong
  • Phuket Province
  • Plai Phraya District, Krabi
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Tha Chana District, Surat Thani
  • Thai Mueang District, Phang Nga
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Yan Ta Khao District, Trang
Range map of Polypedates leucomystax in Thailand