AmphibiaWeb - Allophryne ruthveni


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Allophryne ruthveni Gaige, 1926
Tukeit-Hill Frog
family: Allophrynidae
genus: Allophryne

© 2018 Mauro Teixeira Jr (1 of 6)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).

Dorsal skin is pustulate; males have a larger concentration on the top and sides of head (Hoogmoed 1969). Males also have more spotting on the throat. Dorsum coloration varies from bronze, grayish-brown, gold, or yellowish-tan darker mottling and with golden-yellow dorsolateral stripes. Photographs can be found in Gaige (1926) and Bokermann (1958); cranial osteology and a detailed dorsal view of a specimen can be found in Lynch and Freeman (1966).

The holotype measured 31 mm (Gaige 1926), all specimens since have been smaller. In Lynch and Freeman (1966), the largest male measured 20.6 mm SVL and largest female measured 26.6 mm SVL. Duellman (1997) collected 17 specimens from Venezuela, and the largest female was 27 mm and largest male was 24.6 mm. Snout subacuminate when viewed dorsally; sloping posteroventrally when viewed laterally. Tympanum only visible in males. Webbing absent on hands, 2/3 webbed on hindfeet.

Family-level morphological characters for Allophryne ruthveni follow those mentioned by Lynch and Freeman (1966): 1. Presacral vertebrae procoelus, eight in number; 2. Parahyoid absent; 3. Free ribs lacking; 4. Bidder's organ absent; 5. Intercalary cartilages present; 6. Coccyx articulating with sacrum by two condyles; 7. Tarsal bones not fused; 8. Pectoral girdle arciferal; 9. Epicoracoidal horns present, free; 10. Terminal phalanges T-shaped; 11. Sacrum procoelus and diapophyses expanded; 12. Maxillae, premaxillae, and prevomers edentate; 13. Cranial roofing bones well ossified. Character "9" is shared with Centrolenidae, Bufonidae, Hylidae, and Leptodactylidae. Character "6" an important character state for placement in Centrolenidae and Hylidae, has been rejected by Ford and Cannatella (1993) as serial sections of toes did not show the presence of true intercalary cartilage.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).
Distributional map (taken for this account) and a picture of a living specimen can be found in Caldwell and Hoogmoed (1998).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Duellman (1997) found males vocalizing early in the evening and at night following a storm. Calling takes place on vegetation in the forest 1-2 meters above water-filled depressions. A pair was spotted in axillary amplexus 1.5 meters above the ground; they produced approximately 300 pigmented eggs in a plastic bag following capture. Eggs were deposited in water; Duellman saw this life history trait as support for their placement within the Hylidae.

Caldwell (1996) reported a congregation of several hundred individuals calling from 1-3 m above the ground at the edge of the rising waters of the Rio Xingu in Para, Brasil. Hoogmoed (1969) collected all his specimens within 100 m of a creek or river in Surinam. Caldwell and Hoogmoed (1998) describe the vocalization as a low, raspy trill. Call rate is 18 notes per minute; mean call duration is 352.5 ms; dominant frequency is 4.71 kHz.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities

Currently within the family Allophrynidae, with its only congener A. resplendens.

Phylogenetic uncertainty has plagued this species since its discovery (Gaige 1926) despite morphological (Skin-Hoogmoed 1969 osteology- Lynch and Freeman 1966) and recent molecular (Austin et al. 2002) studies attempting to clarify its place within the anuran clade. Originally placed in the family Bufonidae by Gaige (1926) (leptodactylids at this time were considered to be bufonids (Ford and Cannatella 1993)) after referencing Noble�s (1922) characters for the bufonids. It has since been placed in Leptodactylidae (Gallardo 1965), Centrolenidae, Hylidae (Noble 1931; Lynch and Freeman 1966; Duellman 1970; Duellman 1975; Duellman 1977; Frost 1985; Duellman and Trueb 1986), and in its own family the Allophrynidae (Savage 1973; Savage 1986; reviewed in Caldwell and Hoogmoed 1998 and Austin et al. 2002)

Bokermann (1958) described a new species, Sphoenohyla seabrai, from Serra do Navio, Amap�, Brasil that he later found to have been synonymous with Allophryne ruthveni (Bokermann 1966).

Molecular work with 16s and 12s rRNA �provisionally supports the notion that Allophryne ruthveni is sister [basally positioned] to the Centrolenidae, although some analysis (not shown) did place Allophryne ruthveni within the Centrolenidae� (Austin et al. 2002). This relationship is weakly supported.

Castroviejo-Fisher et al (2012) described its only confamilial and congeneric species, A. resplendens, and proposes a combination of characters that may be diagnostic for the family. However a thorough phylogenetic analysis is hampered by a lack of robust samples for A. resplendens.


Austin, J. D., Lougheed, S. C., Tanner, K., Chek, A. A., Bogart, J. P., and Boag, P. T. (2002). ''A molecular perspective on the evolutionary affinities of an enigmatic neotropical frog, Allophryne ruthveni.'' Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society, 134, 335-346.

Bokermann, W. C. A. (1958). ''Una nueva especie del genero Sphoenohyla del Brasil (Amphibia, Salienta, Hylidae).'' Neotropica, 4, 43-46.

Bokermann, W. C. A. (1966). Lista anotada das localidades tipo de anfíbios brasileiros. Serviço de Documentação-RUSP, São Paulo, Brazil.

Caldwell, J. P. (1996). ''Diversity of Amazonian anuran: the role of systematics and phylogeny in identifying macroecological and evolutionary patterns.'' Neotropical Biodiversity and Conservation. A. C. Gibson, eds., Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden Miscellaneous Publications, Los Angeles, California.

Caldwell, J. P., and Hoogmoed, M. S. (1998). ''Allophrynidae, Allophryne, A. ruthveni.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 666.1-666.3.

Castroviejo-Fisher, S., Pérez-Peña, P.E., Padial, J.M., and Guayasamin, J.M. (2012). ''A second species of the family Allophrynidae (Amphibia: Anura).'' American Museum Novitates, (3739), 1-17.

Duellman, W. E. (1975). ''On the classification of frogs.'' University of Kansas Museum Natural History Occasional Papers, 42, 1-14.

Duellman, W. E. (1977). ''Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien: Hylidae, Centrolenidae, Pseudidae.'' Das Tierreich, 95, 1-225.

Duellman, W. E. and Trueb, L. (1986). Biology of Amphibians. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Duellman, W.E. (1970). The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas.

Ford, L.S., and Cannatella, D.C. (1993). "The major clades of frogs." Herpetological Monographs, 7, 94-117. [link]

Frost, D. R. (1985). Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas.

Gaige, H. T. (1926). ''A new frog from British Guiana.'' University of Michigan, Occasional Papers of the Museum Natural History , 176, 1-3.

Gallardo, J. M. (1965). ''A propósito de los Leptodactylidae (Amphibia Anura).'' Papéis Avulsos, 17, 77-87.

Hoogmoed, M. S. (1969). ''Notes on the Herpetofauna of Surinam. II. On the Occurrence of Allophryne ruthveni Gaige (Amphibia, Salientia, Hylidae) in Surinam.'' Zoologische Mededelingen Leiden , 44(5), 751-781.

Lynch, J. D. and Freeman, H. L. (1966). ''Systematic status of a South American frog, Allophryne ruthveni Gaige.'' University of Kansas Museum Natural History Miscellaneous Publication, 17, 493-502.

Noble, G. K. (1922). ''The phylogeny of the Salientia. 1, The osteology and the thigh musculature : their bearing on classification and phylogeny.'' Bulletin of The American Museum of Natural History, 46, 1-88.

Noble, G. K. (1931). The Biology of the Amphibia. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Savage, J. M. (1973). ''The geographic distribution of frogs.'' Evolutionary Biology of the Anurans: Contemporary Research on Major Problems. J. L. Vial, eds., University Missouri Press, Columbia, 351-445.

Savage, J. M. (1986). ''Nomenclatural notes on the Anura (Amphibia).'' Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 99, 42-45.

Originally submitted by: Raul E. Diaz (first posted 2003-11-13)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, Michelle S. Koo (2012-10-28)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Allophryne ruthveni: Tukeit-Hill Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 May 2024.

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