A frog that uses disguise and patience to get a meal.

Herpetologist, Dale Mortiboys lures you in to loving a leaf-shaped frog

 I have always wanted to see the Bornean Horned frog (Megophrys nasuta). It is a charismatic frog but not in the classical way. Instead of relying on powerful legs to hop away from predation this frog simply sits. It is like the Buddha of the frog world. Nasuta is a huge frog. It keeps perfectly still and impersonates a leaf. It does it very convincingly, as the photo below shows!

If I was a frog I imagine I would be a Bornean horned frog. While others hopped around chasing moths and other morsels, I would sit and watch. Dressed, of course, in the finest of leaf suits I would ponder on my perch until a hapless snack wandered by. Then out the tongue would flip and a feast would be mine before going back to pretending to be a leaf.

Alas, I am not a frog so I spend my time looking for them. On the first night of our night VES transects Tim, Rusty, Aspor and I found a tiny horned frog. It was amazing to have the chance to hold an animal I had studied photos of for so long sitting back at home in the UK. With its horned skin over the eyes and snout it was the perfect disguise for its leaf litter home.

Moments later Aspor and Tim started making a commotion in the bushes. I was called over and stood staring at the base of a tree. It was a nice tree, I thought, but I just couldn’t get that excited about it. My eyes adjust and I spotted the largest horned frog I have ever seen. This colossal wonder was sitting motionless, trying to look like anything but a frog whilst keeping an inquisitive eye on us.

We picked him up and carried out our measurements before putting him back. Instantly he blended in to his surroundings, becoming just another leaf in the jungle floor.