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National Geographic Photo Ark Spotlight: Wallace’s Flying Frog

The very cute Wallace’s flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) flits from one tree to another in the rain forest of Southeast Asia, seemingly able to fly. But in reality, the colorful amphibian is more of a glider than a flyer, ably assisted in its ability to travel a decent distance through the air by large webbed feet...

The very cute Wallace’s flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) flits from one tree to another in the rain forest of Southeast Asia, seemingly able to fly. But in reality, the colorful amphibian is more of a glider than a flyer, ably assisted in its ability to travel a decent distance through the air by large webbed feet that act as sails before the wind.

615px-Wallace_frogThe flying frog got its name from the 19th Century pioneer of evolutionary biogeography, field biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who presented a drawing of the amphibian in his book The Malay Archipelago. Wallace is particularly famous for developing the theory of evolution contemporaneously with Charles Darwin.

A native of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, Wallace’s flying frog is generally a rarely encountered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “This is because it is only seen when it comes down from the trees to its breeding aggregations where it can be locally common,” IUCN says on the species profile page for the frog on its Red List of Threatened SpeciesRhacophorus nigropalmatus is assessed as a species of Least Concern because it is widespread and abundant. Deforestation and further degradation of rainforest habitat constitute the most significant threats, according to IUCN. The small-scale pet trade of the species is not considered a threat to its survival in the wild.

More from National Geographic: Wallace’s Flying Frog page

There Is So Much More to Flying Frogs Than Flying (Scientific American)

Wallace's flying frog, Rhacophorus nigropalmatus. The photograph is one of thousands of portraits made by photographer Joel Sartore for the National Geographic Photo Ark, an ambitious project committed to documenting every species in captivity—inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations.
Wallace’s flying frog, Rhacophorus nigropalmatus. The photograph is one of thousands of portraits made by photographer Joel Sartore for the National Geographic Photo Ark, an ambitious project committed to documenting every species in captivity—inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations.
Click the logo above to find out more about the National Geographic Photo Ark project, and what you can do to help lynxes and other species survive for future generations.
Click the logo above to find out more about the National Geographic Photo Ark project, and what you can do to help species survive for future generations.

The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multi-year project to photograph all species in captivity. Wallace’s flying frog is among them. To learn more about the Photo Ark, visit natgeophotoark.org,

Follow the Photo Ark photographer Joel Sartore and the National Geographic Photo Ark on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook, and add your voice using #SaveTogether.

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Meet the Author

David Max Braun
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn