Being that Vietnam has an extensive amount of freshwater, it’s able to support an impressive array of amphibians. This class of wildlife includes frogs, toads, and salamanders, all of which can be found throughout Vietnam.

The nation’s rugged backcountry, lack of conservation infrastructure, and challenges with illegal logging and wildlife trafficking have all led to a general underestimation of the amphibian biodiversity in the nation.

Many recorded species have virtually no information regarding population status or distribution. While this causes ecologists to lose a bit of sleep, it is an exciting aspect of wildlife tourism in Vietnam. As a visitor to Vietnam’s jungles, forests, and waterways, one can be met with the incredible surprise of many rare or uncommon critters.

Rhacophorus calcaneus
The Amphibians of Vietnam 17

The Amphibians of Vietnam

Up to 10/2022 Vietnam has 295 species of Amphibians With 115 endemic species, we decided to make a list and some of the most interesting, in no particular order to show you.

List of Vietnam’s Amphibians

Source on: 10/2022

No. English Name Latinh Name
1   Hylarana montivaga 
2   Amolops chunganensis 
3   Amolops compotrix 
4   Amolops cremnobatus 
5   Amolops cucae 
6   Amolops daorum 
7   Amolops iriodes 
8   Amolops mengyangensis 
9   Amolops minutus 
10   Amolops ottorum 
11   Amolops shihaitaoi 
12   Amolops spinapectoralis 
13   Amolops tonkinensis 
14   Amolops viridimaculatus 
15   Amolops vitreus 
16   Amolops wenshanensis 
17   Amolops yatseni 
18   Atympanophrys gigantica 
19   Bombina microdeladigitora 
20   Boulenophrys brachykolos 
21   Boulenophrys caobangensis 
22   Boulenophrys daweimontis 
23   Boulenophrys fansipanensis 
24   Boulenophrys frigida 
25   Boulenophrys hoanglienensis 
26   Boulenophrys jingdongensis 
27   Boulenophrys minor 
28   Boulenophrys palpebralespinosa 
29   Boulenophrys rubrimera 
30   Brachytarsophrys feae 
31   Brachytarsophrys intermedia 
32   Bufo andrewsi 
33   Bufo cryptotympanicus 
34   Bufo gargarizans 
35   Bufo luchunnicus 
36   Bufo pageoti 
37   Chirixalus doriae 
38   Chirixalus nongkhorensis 
39   Duttaphrynus melanostictus 
40   Euphlyctis cyanophlyctis 
41   Feihyla palpebralis 
42   Fejervarya limnocharis 
43   Fejervarya moodiei 
44   Glyphoglossus guttulatus 
45   Glyphoglossus molossus 
46   Glyphoglossus yunnanensis 
47   Gracixalus ananjevae 
48   Gracixalus gracilipes 
49   Gracixalus jinxiuensis 
50   Gracixalus lumarius 
51   Gracixalus nonggangensis 
52   Gracixalus quangi 
53   Gracixalus quyeti 
54   Gracixalus sapaensis 
55   Gracixalus supercornutus 
56   Gracixalus trieng 
57   Gracixalus yunnanensis 
58   Gracixalus ziegleri 
59   Hoplobatrachus chinensis 
60   Humerana lateralis 
61   Hyla annectans 
62   Hyla chinensis 
63   Hyla simplex 
64   Hylarana erythraea 
65   Hylarana macrodactyla 
66   Hylarana taipehensis 
67   Ichthyophis catlocensis 
68   Ichthyophis chaloensis 
69   Ichthyophis kohtaoensis 
70   Ichthyophis nguyenorum 
71   Ingerophrynus galeatus 
72   Ingerophrynus macrotis 
73   Kalophrynus cryptophonus 
74   Kalophrynus honbaensis 
75   Kalophrynus interlineatus 
76   Kaloula indochinensis 
77   Kaloula mediolineata 
78   Kaloula pulchra 
79   Kurixalus appendiculatus 
80   Kurixalus baliogaster 
81   Kurixalus banaensis 
82   Kurixalus bisacculus 
83   Kurixalus gracilloides 
84   Kurixalus hainanus 
85   Kurixalus motokawai 
86   Kurixalus odontotarsus 
87   Kurixalus verrucosus 
88   Kurixalus viridescens 
89   Leptobrachella aerea 
90   Leptobrachella applebyi 
91   Leptobrachella ardens 
92   Leptobrachella bidoupensis 
93   Leptobrachella botsfordi 
94   Leptobrachella bourreti 
95   Leptobrachella crocea 
96   Leptobrachella eos 
97   Leptobrachella firthi 
98   Leptobrachella graminicola 
99   Leptobrachella isos 
100   Leptobrachella kalonensis 
101   Leptobrachella macrops 
102   Leptobrachella maculosa 
103   Leptobrachella melica 
104   Leptobrachella minima 
105   Leptobrachella nahangensis 
106   Leptobrachella namdongensis 
107   Leptobrachella niveimontis 
108   Leptobrachella nyx 
109   Leptobrachella pallida 
110   Leptobrachella petrops 
111   Leptobrachella pluvialis 
112   Leptobrachella puhoatensis 
113   Leptobrachella pyrrhops 
114   Leptobrachella rowleyae 
115   Leptobrachella sungi 
116   Leptobrachella tadungensis 
117   Leptobrachella tuberosa 
118   Leptobrachella ventripunctata 
119   Leptobrachella yingjiangensis 
120   Leptobrachium ailaonicum 
121   Leptobrachium banae 
122   Leptobrachium chapaense 
123   Leptobrachium guangxiense 
124   Leptobrachium leucops 
125   Leptobrachium lunatum 
126   Leptobrachium masatakasatoi 
127   Leptobrachium mouhoti 
128   Leptobrachium ngoclinhense 
129   Leptobrachium pullum 
130   Leptobrachium xanthospilum 
131   Limnonectes bannaensis 
132   Limnonectes dabanus 
133   Limnonectes fastigatus 
134   Limnonectes gyldenstolpei 
135   Limnonectes kiziriani 
136   Limnonectes kohchangae 
137   Limnonectes nguyenorum 
138   Limnonectes phuyenensis 
139   Limnonectes poilani 
140   Limnonectes quangninhensis 
141   Limnonectes taylori 
142   Microhyla aurantiventris 
143   Microhyla berdmorei 
144   Microhyla butleri 
145   Microhyla daklakensis 
146   Microhyla darevskii 
147   Microhyla fissipes 
148   Microhyla heymonsi 
149   Microhyla minuta 
150   Microhyla neglecta 
151   Microhyla ninhthuanensis 
152   Microhyla picta 
153   Microhyla pineticola 
154   Microhyla pulchra 
155   Micryletta erythropoda 
156   Micryletta inornata 
157   Micryletta melanops 
158   Micryletta menglienica 
159   Micryletta nigromaculata 
160   Nanohyla annamensis 
161   Nanohyla arboricola 
162   Nanohyla hongiaoensis 
163   Nanohyla marmorata 
164   Nanohyla nanapollexa 
165   Nanohyla pulchella 
166   Nanorana aenea 
167   Nanorana yunnanensis 
168   Nidirana chapaensis 
169   Nidirana lini 
170   Occidozyga lima 
171   Occidozyga martensii 
172   Odorrana absita 
173   Odorrana andersonii 
174   Odorrana bacboensis 
175   Odorrana banaorum 
176   Odorrana chapaensis 
177   Odorrana chloronota 
178   Odorrana fengkaiensis 
179   Odorrana geminata 
180   Odorrana gigatympana 
181   Odorrana grahami 
182   Odorrana graminea 
183   Odorrana jingdongensis 
184   Odorrana junlianensis 
185   Odorrana khalam 
186   Odorrana lipuensis 
187   Odorrana margaretae 
188   Odorrana morafkai 
189   Odorrana mutschmanni 
190   Odorrana nasica 
191   Odorrana orba 
192   Odorrana tiannanensis 
193   Odorrana trankieni 
194   Odorrana yentuensis 
195   Ophryophryne elfina 
196   Ophryophryne gerti 
197   Ophryophryne microstoma 
198   Ophryophryne pachyproctus 
199   Ophryophryne poilani 
200   Ophryophryne synoria 
201   Ophryphryne hansi 
202   Oreolalax sterlingae 
203   Papurana attigua 
204   Papurana milleti 
205   Paramesotriton deloustali 
206   Paramesotriton guangxiensis 
207   Philautus abditus 
208   Philautus catbaensis 
209   Philautus maosonensis 
210   Phrynoidis asper 
211   Polypedates braueri 
212   Polypedates colletti 
213   Polypedates impresus 
214   Polypedates megacephalus 
215   Polypedates mutus 
216   Pulchrana glandulosa 
217   Quasipaa acanthophora 
218   Quasipaa boulengeri 
219   Quasipaa courtoisi 
220   Quasipaa delacouri 
221   Quasipaa spinosa 
222   Quasipaa taoi 
223   Quasipaa verrucospinosa 
224   Rana johnsi 
225   Raorchestes gryllus 
226   Raorchestes longchuanensis 
227   Raorchestes menglaensis 
228   Raorchestes parvulus 
229   Rhacophorus annamensis 
230   Rhacophorus bipunctatus 
231   Rhacophorus calcaneus 
232   Rhacophorus exechopygus 
233   Rhacophorus helenae 
234   Rhacophorus hoabinhensis 
235   Rhacophorus hoanglienensis 
236   Rhacophorus kio 
237   Rhacophorus larissae 
238   Rhacophorus marmoridorsum 
239   Rhacophorus orlovi 
240   Rhacophorus rhodopus 
241   Rhacophorus robertingeri 
242   Rhacophorus trangdinhensis 
243   Rhacophorus vanbanicus 
244   Rhacophorus viridimaculatus 
245   Rohanixalus vittatus 
246   Romerus calcarius 
247   Romerus feii 
248   Sylvirana annamitica 
249   Sylvirana cubitalis 
250   Sylvirana guentheri 
251   Sylvirana maosonensis 
252   Sylvirana montosa 
253   Sylvirana nigrovittata 
254   Theloderma albopunctatum 
255   Theloderma annae 
256   Theloderma asperum 
257   Theloderma auratum 
258   Theloderma bicolor 
259   Theloderma corticale 
260   Theloderma gordoni 
261   Theloderma hekouense 
262   Theloderma khoii 
263   Theloderma laeve 
264   Theloderma lateriticum 
265   Theloderma nebulosum 
266   Theloderma palliatum 
267   Theloderma petilum 
268   Theloderma ryabovi 
269   Theloderma truongsonense 
270   Theloderma vietnamense 
271   Tylototriton anguliceps 
272   Tylototriton pasmansi 
273   Tylototriton sparreboomi 
274   Tylototriton thaiorum 
275   Tylototriton vietnamensis 
276   Tylototriton ziegleri 
277   Vampyrius vampyrus 
278   Vietnamophryne cuongi 
279   Vietnamophryne inexpectata 
280   Vietnamophryne orlovi 
281   Vietnamophryne vuquangensis 
282   Xenophrys maosonensis 
283   Xenophrys pachyproctus 
284   Xenophrys truongsonensis 
285   Zhangixalus dennysi 
286   Zhangixalus dorsoviridis 
287   Zhangixalus duboisi 
288   Zhangixalus dugritei 
289   Zhangixalus feae 
290   Zhangixalus franki 
291   Zhangixalus hungfuensis 
292   Zhangixalus jodiae 
293   Zhangixalus nigropunctatus 
294   Zhangixalus pachyproctus 
295   Zhangixalus puerensis 

Frogs and Toads in Vietnam

The moist forests, vast wetlands, and considerable changes in elevation throughout Vietnam have produced one of the world’s best habitats for frog and toad species. Just don’t try to find your Prince Charming or you might end up in the emergency room.

Yunnan Spiny Frog

Chinese spiny frog (Quasipaa spinosa). Photo: Nature.Catcher
Chinese spiny frog (Quasipaa spinosa). Photo: Nature.Catcher

Having brown and blackish skin with small yellow/brown nodules all over, the Yunnan Spiny Frog is a rather bland-looking critter. If you ask a local about it, though, they’ll likely tell you that this frog used to be on a dinner menu just down the street. Yunnan Spiny Frogs are listed as endangered IUCN due to over-harvesting and over-consumption by humans.

Males can grow up to 10 cm in length and their preferred habitat is moss-covered rocks around the river and creek beds. Spotting one is becoming a less common occurrence, so you’ll have to look carefully if you’re hoping to find one in the wild. Between April and June, you can find their eggs in shallow creeks.

Vampire Flying Frog

One of the coolest and most impressive animals in all of Vietnam, the Vampire Flying Frog lives up to its name. High up in Vietnam’s “cloud forests”, the climate is entirely different from the stereotypical heat and humidity of the jungle forests. Here, the ground is virtually always moist and it produces year-round fungal buildup, perfect for fanged (yes, fanged) Vampire Flying Frogs.

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The Amphibians of Vietnam 18

As tadpoles, this species carries sharp black fangs, something unseen in any other frog species. Theories as to why they’ve evolved to have such a trait range from feeding expertise to wild folklore. Unfortunately, these frogs are endemic to a very limited region of Vietnam’s high elevation forests, and thus, are under increasing pressure due to climate change and habitat loss.

Helen’s Tree Frog

Much like the Vampire Flying Frog, the Helen’s Flying Frog was recently discovered and carries similar attributes in that its main defense mechanism is the ability to glide long distances in the air.

These frogs are known for their bright green coloration, relatively massive webbed hands and feet, and large arms that give them an extra ability to glide freely through the canopy. Relying on lowland forests near wetlands, their populations are under direct and imminent threats from logging and development.

Thorny Tree Frog

Thorny Tree Frog. Photo: Jodi J. L. Rowley
Thorny Tree Frog. Photo: Jodi J. L. Rowley

Perhaps the most unique frog in Vietnam, the Thorny Tree Frog has blazed its own path of survival in Vietnam’s sharp, cold mountainsides. Its pink and white coloration is complemented by a layer of white spine-like structures that grow during the breeding season (for the males).

While known for its alien-like appearance, the Thony Tree Frog’s uncommon method of incubation has also captivated scientists. In Vietnam’s moist mountain forests, trees often snap leaving short hollow stumps that quickly fill with water. The frogs will lay their eggs in these isolated breeding pools, providing an extra layer of protection against predators.

Vietnamese Mossy Frog

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Vietnamese Mossy Frog. Photo: Josh More

Decked out in camouflage, the Vietnamese Mossy Frog has some strikingly unique characteristics. Most often found in small cave-like crevices along Vietnam’s limestone cliff-sides, they attach themselves to rock formations in order to appear as though they are moss growth.

Hunting mainly insects, they also have interesting defense mechanisms which include rolling into a ball in hopes that predators will assume they are simply a clump of foliage. They also have an uncanny ability to “throw” their voices long distances, which is an act of deception making the exact location of their current standing almost impossible to predict.

Frogs of Mount Fansipan

With unique features come unique habitats, Mount Fansipan has been identified as a specific location of rich biodiversity and imminent conservation needs. The amphibians of Fansipan face uncertain futures as climate change drives environmental shifts that often cause upward migration of other species, including potential new predators.

Mao-Son Horned Frog

This grumpy-looking Mao-Son Horned Frog is found in two distinct regions: the south of China and the Fansipan ecoregion. Not only is it an important species to the Fansipan ecosystem but it also provides herpetologists and conservationists with insight into amphibian protection.

The Mao-Son Horned Frog, known for its brawny eyebrow-like horned ridges above its eyes, has tadpoles that have very different appearances from typical tadpoles. This means that identifying this species at this stage is possible.

Ailao Moustache Toad

The Ailao Moustache Toad (Leptobrachium ailaonicum) develops a row of sharp spine-like features above their mouths, an armored mustache, that they use in defense of their eggs against other males. It’s also known as the Ailao spiny toad, Ailao moustache toad, or Yunnan moustache toad.

Sterling’s Toothed Toad

The Sterling’s Toothed Toad is one of the world’s most endangered frog species. Its huge back legs and large protruding eyes give it a striking appearance. Traditionally it was thought that this species was endemic to a tiny portion of high elevation cloud forest in Vietnam.

However, it’s been found that the species is either adapting to lower elevation habitats or has dispersed previously into multiple varying ecological niches. This is great news for a frog species that was thought to be on the brink of extinction just a few years ago.

Newts and Salamanders in Vietnam

Vietnam’s mountains cut through humid jungles and create an incredible layered system of habitats that includes countless cold-running creeks and rivers where newts and salamanders are most at home. Like the rest of Vietnam’s biodiversity, the last decade has seen both alarming declines in populations and exciting new discoveries of previously unknown species of newts and salamanders.

Tom Dao Salamander (The Vietnamese Salamander)

The Tom Dao Salamander‘s rusty orange appearance makes it look like a miniature prehistoric lizard. One of Vietnam’s most popular endemic species, it has unfortunately been subjected to widespread capture, breeding, and trafficking as a pet or even as a flavoring for alcoholic drinks.

Newts, like most amphibian species, provide forests with a gauge of ecosystem health and as the Tom Dao Newt continues to decline, it will become harder and harder for Vietnamese people to rely on natural indicators of forest health.

Vietnamese Crocodile Newt

The crocodile newt is the richest genus of Newts in the world, with Vietnam being home to a few very unique species of crocodile newts, like the Vietnamese Crocodile Newt. This small charred-black colored newt thrives in dense bamboo forests placed near creeks, ponds, or river beds.

The shrinking availability of dense undisturbed bamboo forests and water quality are increasingly becoming status issues for the Vietnamese Crocodile Newt. Their almost fully black appearance has traditionally made it difficult to differentiate them from other species in the same genus, such as the Ziegler’s Crocodile Newt.

Ziegler’s Crocodile Newt

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Ziegler’s Crocodile Newt. Photo: Nguyen Thien Tao

Given the nickname “the amphibian from hell” due to its dark black coloration, this newt looks and acts very similarly to the Vietnamese Crocodile Newt. It’s a bit smaller, darker, and has some general morphological differences, like different patterns of ridges on its back and orange-tipped fingers and toes.

While some newts are water-based for much of the year, this newt uses the water for breeding season and then spends most of its time near water but not in it.

Himalayan Newt

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Himalayan Newt. Photo: John P Clare

The Himalayan Newt has a widespread distribution in high elevation forests across Southeast Asia and India. Its dark purple, orange, or ruby coloring as an adult gives it a fairly unique appearance compared to other newts of the region. Unlike some of Vietnam’s fragile endemic species, the Himalayan Newt is resilient to habitat changes and variations.

In the country’s mountain forests or high elevation farmlands, these little guys can be found both near to and far from human presence.

Black-knobby Newt

The Black-knobby Newt is particularly sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances and is, therefore, extremely difficult to find in the mountain habitats of northern Vietnam. It is also a mainly terrestrial newt and relies on small, moist crevices within bamboo forests to burrow and forage.

It follows in the other crocodile newts’ footsteps in that it is dark black with some bright orange highlights. But it has a more defined spinal ridge and its size varies.

Important Members of the Food Chain

Oftentimes in Vietnam, amphibians will be grouped together for decades and identified as a single species when in fact, the observed animals are of many different species and sub-species. The incredible habitats of Vietnam support one of the world’s most rich pools of species, and for those who wish to see them, you should head to the mountain forests and lowland areas.

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