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 will name the North American horned lizards (Phrynosoma sp) which are commonly known as horned toads. Right, they are not toads.
Some may think of the much more well-known horned frogs either from South America (Ceratophrys sp) or Asia (Megophrys sp). Neither are toads as well.
No one knows about this real horned toad.
But don’t be too serious. Common names of animals are rarely preciously accurate. That is why we need scientific names.
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!
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.
An alien species of Hong Kong – 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.