There are around 1,800 wild monkeys in Hong Kong. None of them are native to Hong Kong. They were introduced. There are 2 species in Hong Kong – Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), Long-tailed Macaque or crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), and their hybrids.
Those who are into herpetology or herpetoculture will easily name the horned lizards (Phrynosoma sp) which are commonly known as horned toads, even though they are some North American lizards, not toads.
Some may think of the much more well-known horned frogs from South America (Ceratophrys sp). Not toads either.
Only very few people know about this one to be genuinely called horned toads.
But don’t be too serious. Common names of animals are rarely preciously accurate. That is why scientific names are to matter.
The Short-legged horned toad (Megophrys (Xenophrys) brachykolos) is also known as Peak spadefoot toad because it was first discovered in the Victoria Peak (locally known as The Peak), Hong Kong.
Its subtleness comes from its discreteness – It is a tiny little toad growing to less than 40-48 mm that burrows a lot and it is far from common. They are not easy to find at all!
Not to be confused with the common toad you can easily find, this species is pretty rare – Out of all 23 amphibian species of Hong Kong, there are only 3 endangered species – Hong Kong cascade frog (Amolops hongkongensis) 香港湍蛙, the most well-known Romer’s tree frog (Liuixalus romeri) 盧文氏樹蛙, and this toad.
Previously thought to be a subspecies of the Little horned toad (Megophrys minor). But molecular genetic evidence now supports its full species status. The 2 species are obviously different. The Little horned toad is absent in Hong Kong but much more common in southern China and Southeast Asia.
Not an endemic species – Other than Hong Kong, it can also be found in southern China and Vietnam. But it is hardly known outside Hong Kong. To be fair, it is even not known to most people in Hong Kong.
Megophrys brachykolos (Inger and Romer, 1961) Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Amphibia Order: Anura Family: Megophryidae Genus: Megophrys Species: brachykolos
The Painted chorus frog (Microhyla butleri) has many other common names such as Butler’s narrow-mouthed toad, Butler’s pigmy frog, Butler’s rice frog, Butler’s ricefrog, noisy frog, or Tubercled pygmy frog.
Believe it or not? Aliens are everywhere in Hong Kong. There must be some around you. Of course, I am talking about alien species – the species introduced outside their original distributions. From house cockroaches, apple snails, fire ants, to vertebrate as below. These are all not native to Hong Kong.
Never getting a PR ID card (permanent residency) in spite of residing in here for decades.
Expats who live in here and have their kids and grandkids bred, born and raised in here are called locals. But when it comes to wild animals it’s not how it works.
An alien species of Hong Kong – Among the oldest introduced lizards – the Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) is originally native to China and mainland Southeast Asia. It is also known as the Chinese water dragon, Thai water dragon, and green water dragon.
The Asian water dragon is the only all-green lizard in Hong Kong (if the Green iguanas and Madagascar day geckos have not yet developed local populations), not to be confused with the Australian water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii, formerly Physignathus lesueurii) which’s colors vary from brown, olive, dark gray to light gray.
The rarest animal I’ve ever found was the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis). Only around 20 of them are in the wild. But that’s a subspecies of leopards. In terms of a full species, this is the rarest one in my experience.
Let me introduce the most endangered species I’ve ever found in the wild – the Ploughshare Tortoise of Madagascar.
It is also called Angonoka tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora).
Those big organizations will only tell you about the tigers, rhinos, marine mammals, etc. Probably it’s all about marketing which I have zero idea about.
Let me do something for this species which is TONS more endangered. Help me share this and spread the love before it goes extinct which could happen tomorrow or any day.
If you know of anyone on earth who’s ever seen one of these tortoises in the wild, definitely let me know!