Cruziohyla calcarifer
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Phyllomedusinae

© 2006 Tobias Eisenberg (1 of 26)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
Other International Status IUCN - LC (Least Concern)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

Adult males range from 51 to 81 mm in SVL, and adult females measure from 61 to 87 mm. The head is broader than it is long. Pupils are vertically elliptical (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Eyes are large and eyelids are not reticulate. The snout is truncate from above and acute in profile. A large, distinct tympanum is present. Vomerine teeth are present in transverse ridges behind the choanae (Duellman 2001). The body is relatively robust (Savage 2002). The dorsal surface is smooth to weakly granular and the skin surrounding the vent is granular to coarsely areolate. Skin on the ventral surface of the thighs is coarsely areolate. A weak supratympanic fold is present. A vertical dermal fold is present on the elbow and a dermal ridge extends along the posterior ventrolateral edge of the forearm. A weak transverse dermal fold is present on the upper surface of the wrist. A distinct dermal ridge extends along the posterior ventrolateral edge of the tarsus. A weak inner tarsal fold extends almost the full length of the tarsus. There is a large, triangular dermal flap on the heel, which helps to distinguish this species from others in the genus. The upper arm is slender and the forearm is moderately robust. The finger discs are broadly expanded and the disc covers on the fingers are rounded. Subarticular tubercles on fingers are round and globular. Relative length of the fingers is III>IV>II>I (Savage 2002). Fingers are about ¾ webbed (Duellman 2001). Toe discs are broadly expanded, with rounded disc covers on toes are rounded. The subarticular tubercles on toes are round and globular. Plantar tubercles are small and barely raised. Relative length of toes is IV>III>II>I (Savage 2002). Toes are about ¾ webbed. A brown spinous nuptial pad is present at the base of the thumb in adult males. Small paired vocal slits and a slightly distensible single subgular vocal sac are also present in adult males (Duellman 2001).

The dorsum is dark green with orange flanks and thighs marked by black bars. Dorsal surfaces of the body, forearms, shanks, tarsi, fourth fingers, and fifth toes are also dark green. The throat, flanks, and narrow dorsal surfaces of the upper arms and thighs are yellow. All but the dorsal surfaces of the upper arms are deep orange, as are the hands and feet with the exception of the fourth finger and fifth toe. The ventral surfaces are deep orange. A yellow stripe runs along the sides and the posterior edge of the anal sheath. The iris is a pale lavender-gray medially, and yellow on the periphery. (Duellman 2001).

Tadpoles of this species have an ovoid body. Eyes and nostrils are dorsolateral and directed laterally. The spiracle is ventral and sinistral (Donnelly et al. 1987). The vent tube is dextral (McCranie and Wilson 2002). The oral disc is anteroventral. Papillae are in a single row dorsally and laterally, and two rows ventrally. (Donnelly et al. 1987). Keratinized jaw sheaths are present, bearing short, blunt serrations (McCranie and Wilson 2002). Denticles are present in two anterior and three posterior rows. Body color is dark olive (Donnelly et al. 1987).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
This species is distributed on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and central Panama and on the Pacific side of eastern Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador (Duellman 2001). They are found in undisturbed lowland moist and wet forests of the Atlantic slope. Cruziohyla calcarifer occurs from 30 to 170 m in elevation (McCranie and Wilson 2002).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Cruziohyla calcarifer is nocturnal. Males have been heard calling throughout most of the rainy season, March to October. They may call from trees as high as 8 m, but before mating will call from nearer vegetation 2-4 m above ground (Savage 2002). Amplexus occurs in March, April, August, and September. During amplexus, the female hydrates her bladder in water below the site of oviposition. She lays and fertilizes eggs upon climbing out of the water. Oviposition occurs before 10 AM and lasts three to ten minutes. Eggs are deposited above water, in depressions of large fallen trees (Donnelly et al. 1987; Caldwell 1994). There are 10-54 eggs in a clutch (Savage 2002), surrounded by clear jelly (Duellman 2001). In the field, eggs will hatch in five to ten days, being washed into the puddles below by rain. Metamorphosis in laboratory raised tadpoles took a minimum of 211 days. Tadpoles will eat other embryos which prematurely fall into the water (Savage 2002). Tadpoles may be eaten by dragonfly larvae (Duellman 2001), damselfly naiads and notonectids (Savage 2002).

This species is able to glide, despite having an intermediate amount of webbing (rather than full webbing) (McCay 2001; Dudley et al. 2007).

Trends and Threats
Cruziohyla calcarifer is rare but has a stable population. This is an under-recorded species because it lives primarily in the canopy and only comes out at night. Threats include pollution from crop spraying, illegal crops, logging, human settlement, and agricultural development. This species is especially rare in Ecuador due to human settlement (Stuart et al. 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants
Predators (natural or introduced)

Etymology: The specific name calcarifer refers to the triangular dermal flap on the heel (from the Latin calcar, or spur, and fero, to carry) (Duellman 2001).

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).


Caldwell, J. P. (1994). ''Natural history and survival of eggs and early larval stages of Agalychnis calcarifer (Anura: Hylidae).'' Herpetological Natural History, 2, 57-66.

Donnelly, M. A., Guyer, C., Krempels, D. M., and Braker, H. E. (1987). ''The tadpole of Agalychnis calcarifer (Anura: Hylidae).'' Copeia, 1987(1), 247-250.

Dudley, R., Byrnes, G., Yanoviak, S. P., Borrell, B., Brown, R. M., and McGuire, J. A. (2007). ''Gliding and the functional origins of flight: biomechanical novelty or necessity?'' The Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 38, 179-201.

Duellman, W. E. (2001). The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

McCay, M.G. (2001). The Evolution of Gliding in Neotropical Tree Frogs. Ph.D. dissertation. University of California at Berkeley, USA.

McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (2002). ''The Amphibians of Honduras.'' Contributions to Herpetology, Vol 19. K. Adler and T. D. Perry, eds., Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica:a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA and London.

Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Written by Anna Doty (annad AT, UC Berkeley
First submitted 2007-11-29
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2009-11-02)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Cruziohyla calcarifer <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 5, 2019.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 5 Dec 2019.

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