A small to medium-sized tree frog with a average snout-vent length of 29.7 mm in males and 37.9 mm in females. It has an axillary membrane to elbow; webbing at the base of fingers; webbed feet; single palmar tubercle; and moderate pectoral patches (Caminer et al 2017).
Its coloration in life varies from brown to dark brown with bright yellow or white dorsolateral bands extending to the tip of the snout; a leaf-shaped mark on the sacrum is also bright yellow or white; and two bright yellow or white bands cover its shank which also may be fused and cover the leg completely. Some individuals may have a reticulated color pattern. The ventrum and webbing may be red, orange or pink. The eyes are large, round and prominent with dull or coppery bronze irises (Caminer et al 2017).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname
Caminer et al (2017) confirms this species is known from northern Brazilian Amazonia, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana ranging in elevation from sea level to 400 m at Grande Montagne Tortue, Guyana.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Caminer et al (2017) reports they were found in permanent or semi-permanent ponds along roads or in pristine moist rain forest, large coastal swamps, and at the edges of forest savannas. They have been found perching above water from a few centimeters to several meters above in the tree canopy.
Caminer et al (2017) analyzed the Dendropsophus leucophyllatus species complex, describing two new species in the process: Dendropsophus arndti sp. nov., D. leucophyllatus, D. triangulum, D. reticulatus, D. vraemi sp. nov.. They delimited this species to the northeastern region of South America based on their molecular analysis.
This species was featured in the News of the Week April 25, 2022:
Frogs and toads have large, prominent eyes and many visually-guided behaviors, making them an exciting group in which to study the evolution of vision. Some frogs, such as the Clown Tree Frog, Dendropsophus leucophyllatus, have spectral filters in the lenses of their eyes that block short wavelengths of light (e.g., UV), with important implications for how they see in low light and the resolution of their vision. Thomas et al. (2022) measured the spectral transmission of light through the ocular lenses of 85 species of frogs and salamanders and tested whether shortwave filtering was associated with ecology. They found that day-active frogs more commonly evolve lenses that filter out shortwave light, which should protect the retinas of diurnal species from damage and improve visual acuity in bright environments. Night-active species usually had more transparent lenses, likely to maximize sensitivity in dim light. However, despite being mostly nocturnal, scansorial species that typically climb up into plants show selection for stronger shortwave filtering in their lenses than species that tend to be found on the ground or in water. Climbing frogs may sacrifice sensitivity for resolution to navigate their complex arboreal environments. (Written by Katie Thomas)
Caminer MA, Mila B, Jansen M, Fouquet A, Venegas PJ, Chavez G, Lougheed SC, Ron SR. (2017). "Systematics of the Dendropsophus leucophyllatus species complex (Anura: Hylidae): Cryptic diversity and the description of two new species." PLoS ONE, 12(3), e0171785. [link]
Originally submitted by: Michelle S. Koo (2022-04-24)
Edited by: Michelle S. Koo (2022-04-24)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Dendropsophus leucophyllatus: Clown Tree Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/847> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 21, 2023.
Feedback or comments about this page.
Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Mar 2023.
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.