Abavorana luctuosa (Peters, 1871)
by Mr. Kaviarasu Munian
Abavorana luctuosa (Peters, 1871)
by Mr. Kaviarasu Munian

Abavorana luctuosa, also known as Mahogany Frog or Purple Frog is one of many amphibians found in Malaysia. The species is also found in Indonesia (Sumatra and Kalimantan), with a single old record from southern Thailand (Nakhon Si Thammarat) (Taylor, 1962; Berry, 1975). It probably occurs more widely than current records suggest, especially in areas between known sites (IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2014). It was first described based on a specimen collected by W.C.H. Peters in 1871 from Sarawak. Altitudinal records of the species range between 100 and 1,350 m above sea level.

Abavorana luctuosa is a species of true frog (family Ranidae). Previously, it was placed under genus Hylarana (Che et al., 2007) but in 2015 Oliver and his co-workers revised the species under genus Hylarana and placed A. luctuosa in a new genus, Abavorana. The name Abavorana is derived from the Latin avus, meaning grandfather, the Latin prefix ab- indicating away or from, and the Latin rana, meaning frog. Thus, based on phylogenetic results, the species is interpreted as ancestral frog which differs from other Hylarana species (Oliver et al., 2015).

The Mahogany Frog is easily identified based on it physical features. The skin of the frog is smooth with no dorsolateral folds. The dorsal part of the frog is usually reddish to chocolate brown, bordered by a narrow dorsolateral cream-coloured line which starts at the tip of the snout ending above the vent. The ventral surface of the frog is light grey in colour while the side of the body is dark brown or black. The limbs of the frog are marked with pale grey and black cross-bars. Male and female A. luctuosa are able to grow up to 60 mm.

The Mahogany Frog is a leaf litter frog that can be found living in lowland and submontane primary rainforests. Sometimes the frog can also be found in somewhat disturbed habitats. It is habitually found at night sitting on rocks, steep banks or low vegetation near flowing streams and rivers. Currently the species is considered not threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, 2014).


  1. Berry, P.Y. (1975). The Amphibian Fauna of Peninsular Malaysia, Issue/No. . Kuala Lumpur: Tropical Press, Malaysia. pp. 130.
  2. Che, J., Pang, J., Zhao, H., Wu, G.-f., Zhao, E.-m. & Zhang, Y.-p. (2007). Phylogeny of Raninae (Anura: Ranidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43 (1): pp. 1-13
  3. IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2014. Abavorana luctuosa. (errata version published in 2016) September 29, 2017, from
  4. Oliver, L.A., Prendini, E., Kraus, F. & Raxworthy, C.J. (2015). Systematics and biogeography of the Hylarana frog (Anura: Ranidae) radiation across tropical Australasia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 90: pp. 176-192
  5. Taylor, E.H. (1962). The Amphibian Fauna of Thailand. The University of Kansas Science Bulletin , Vol. 43 (8): pp. 265-599
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