Flying frog

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Wallace's flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus)

A flying frog (also called a gliding frog) is a frog that has the ability to achieve gliding flight. This means it can descend at an angle less than 45° relative to the horizontal. Other nonflying arboreal frogs can also descend, but only at angles greater than 45°, which is referred to as parachuting.[1]


Gliding flight has evolved independently several times among frogs from both New World (Hylidae) and Old World (Rhacophoridae) families.[2][1] This parallel evolution is seen as an adaptation to their life in trees, high above the ground. Characteristics of the Old-World species include "enlarged hands and feet, full webbing between all fingers and toes, lateral skin flaps on the arms and legs, and reduced weight per snout-vent length".[2] These morphological changes contribute to the flying frogs' aerodynamic abilities.


Alfred Russel Wallace made one of the earliest reports of a flying frog.[3] The species he observed was later described by George Albert Boulenger as Rhacophorus nigropalmatus.

Flying or gliding frogs includes members of these genera:

There are 380 species of flying frogs.


  1. ^ a b Emerson, S.B., Travis, J., & Koehl, M.A.R. (1990). "Functional complexes and additivity in performance: A test case with 'flying' frogs." Evolution, 44(8), 2153-2157.
  2. ^ a b Emerson, S.B., & Koehl, M.A.R. (1990). "The interaction of behavioral and morphological change in the evolution of a novel locomotor type: 'Flying' frogs." Evolution, 44(8), 1931-1946.
  3. ^ Oliver, J.A. (1951). "'Gliding' in amphibians and reptiles, with a remark on an arboreal adaptation in the lizard, Anolis carolinensis carolinesis Voigt." The American Naturalist, 85(822), 171-176.