AmphibiaWeb - Cophixalus phaeobalius


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Cophixalus phaeobalius Kraus & Allison, 2009
family: Microhylidae
subfamily: Asterophryinae
genus: Cophixalus
Species Description: Kraus F, Allison A 2009 New species of Cophixalus (Anura: Microhylidae) from Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa 2128: 1-38.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



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Diagnosis: Small body size (male 15.3 mm SVL, female 19.2 mm SVL); finger discs not large, and smaller than toe discs; first finger fully developed, bearing disc with circum-marginal groove; short limbs; short narrow head with short snout and large eyes; small tympanum; face not uniformly black; dark subocular blotch; dark interrupted lateral stripe, extending to midbody or further; no dark brown bar posterior to forearm insertion; legs spotted with dark brown; venter uniformly stippled dark, occasionally with darker brown blotches; somewhat slow peeping call of 3-7 notes (Kraus and Allison 2007).

Description: Adult male measured 15.3 mm SVL. Adult female measured 19.2 mm SVL. Short narrow head with large eyes. Snout is short, with a rounded canthus rostralis and oblique loreal region. Nostrils lie closer to the snout tip than to the eyes. Tympanum small with distinct raised annulus; no supratympanic fold. Unwebbed fingers with small finger discs that have circum-marginal grooves and measure 1.5x the width of the penultimate phalanx. Disc on first finger is poorly developed but bears a circum-marginal groove. Poorly developed subarticular and metacarpal tubercles. Short hind limbs with TL/SV = 0.44. Unwebbed toes have discs with terminal grooves; that of Toe IV is 1.5x width of penultimate phalanx, while that of Toe I is about the same width as that of the penultimate phalanx. Toe discs are larger than finger discs. No obvious subarticular and metatarsal tubercles. Smooth dorsal, lateral and ventral surfaces (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Dark to russet-brown or tan dorsum with a darker brown dorsolateral stripe that curves from eye to groin. Face and snout are dark brown with the darkest brown right below the eyes. A second darker brown line starts behind the eye, beginning at the same point as the dorsolateral stripe, and runs half way down the body. A white stripe may run from the corner of the eye to the insertion of the forelimb. Dark brown interocular bar is present. Suprascapular region has several dark brown spots. Dorsal surfaces of limbs have numerous large darker brown spots. Thighs are a uniform dark brown with a few dark drown spots at the knee. Chin and throat appear black. Venter is densely stippled with brown. Iris is black, dark bronze-rust, or dark rust (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Papua New Guinea


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Endemic to Papua New Guinea. Found at higher elevations (1520 m) in the Kamiali, Bowtutu Mountains, Milne Province Bay. Generally found on the floor of dense mossed forest, usually on steep slopes (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Males call from within cracks and breaks in peat substrate. Calls generally started in the early evening and lasted for a few hours. Slow peeping call of 3-7 notes (1.30-2.73 seconds/note). Call begins at an amplitude that is about 75% of the maximum, then becomes progressively louder until the volume falls away at the end of the call. There is no frequency modulation. Dominant frequency of 3970 Hz with a range of 3910-4040 Hz (Kraus and Allison 2009).

Relation to Humans
In the presence of humans, this species is relatively shy and quickly retreats back into the holes of the peat substrate (Kraus and Allison 2009).

The species epithet phaeobalius is a latinized Greek word deriving from “phaios”, meaning “somewhat dark”, and “balios”, meaning “dappled”, referring to the distinctive patterning on the flanks and limbs (Kraus and Allison 2009).


Kraus, F., and Allison, A. (2009). ''New species of Cophixalus (Anura: Microhylidae) from Papua New Guinea.'' Zootaxa, 2128, 1-38.

Originally submitted by: Stephanie Ung (first posted 2009-10-08)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2010-04-21)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2010 Cophixalus phaeobalius <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 14, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 14 Apr 2024.

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