Eleutherodactylus dimidiatus reaches 45 mm in SVL in adult females, with the males being smaller. Digital discs are absent. There is no webbing between the toes. The vomerine teeth, behind the choanae, are in an abruptly curved series (Cope 1862, Ruiz 1987, Schwartz and Henderson 1985, Schwartz and Henderson 1991).
These frogs are brown to golden tan, sometimes with a mid-dorsal pale hairline. The dorsal color is bordered laterally by a wide black band that is the posterior extension of a black canthal band. A bold straight cream line extends from the nares to the forelimb insertion, which is margined above by the dark canthal line and below by a dark labial line. A large, black groin spot may be present. The concealed surfaces of thighs are sometimes pinkish or reddish. The venter is pearly white (Cope 1862, Ruiz 1987, Schwartz and Henderson 1985, Schwartz and Henderson 1991).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cuba
This species is endemic to Cuba and it is found island-wide. It occurs in woods (sometimes in pinewoods) at elevations up to 1400 m (Schwartz and Henderson 1991).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This is a terrestrial species found in the leaf litter and taking refuge under rocks, logs and other objects. Males vocalize from the ground, emitting a very soft, insect-like whisper. It is a direct developing species, ovipositing in small depressions in humid leaf litter, under fallen trunks and palm trash. The clutches are composed of spherical, yellow-orange or white, semitransparent eggs, 3.3-4.4 mm in diameter. The incubation period is about 25 days (Estrada 1987, Ruiz 1987, A. Fong pers. comm.).
This species is parasitized by nematodes: Aplectana cubana, Neyraplectana sp., Oswaldocruzia lenteixerai, Porrocaecum sp. (Coy and Lorenzo 1982, Schwartz and Henderson 1991).
Trends and Threats
The main threat to this species is habitat destruction as a result of deforestation due to agricultural development for crop cultivation and subsistence farming, charcoal manufacture, and infrastructure development for human settlement and tourism. Agricultural pollution is also a threat (Hedges and Diaz 2004). Some natural areas in Eastern Cuba have been degraded and substituted by pastures, inducing the extinction of this species from its original habitat. Nevertheless, it is able to survive in areas where timber plantations have substituted natural vegetation (Fong 1999).
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
Eleutherodactylus dimidiatus is a member of the Eleutherodactylus dimidiatus group (subgenus Euhyas). Related species include Eleutherodactylus emiliae, E. maestrensis, and E. albipes (Heinicke et al. 2007).
The chromosome number is 30 (Bogart 1981).
Synonyms include Hylodes dimidiatus (Cope 1862).
This species was featured as News of the Week on 9 August 2021:
Amphibians are good study subjects to test whether differences in reproductive phenology may separate niche space and thus allow for increased numbers of co-occurring species given limited resources. Bignotte-Giró et al. (2021) studied five endemic Eleutherodactylus species* that coexist in a mountain rainforest in Cuba to test the hypothesis that in Neotropical humid sites, reproductive activity in sympatric species will vary in the time of occurrence in order to minimize complete temporal overlap. Reproductive phenology was inferred from seasonal variation in the number of sexually active individuals, their gonad developmental stage, and male vocal activity from January 2003 to March 2004. The study found no support for the hypothesis of temporal segregation in reproduction and instead found a prolonged reproductive pattern in all five species, with decreased breeding intensity in the cooler months (November–February). Thus, if niche diversification is occurring, it must be explained along different ecological parameters than reproductive phenology. (*E. auriculatus and E. dimidiatus are widely distributed across the island, whereas E. cuneatus, E. gundlachi, and E. intermedius are known only from the eastern ranges of Cuba.)
Bogart, J. P. (1981). ''Chromosome studies in Sminthillus from Cuba and Eleutherodactylus from Cuba and Puerto Rico (Anura: Leptodactylidae).'' Life Science Contribution, Royal Ontario Museum, 129, 1-22.
Cope, E. D. (1862). ''On some new and little known American anura.'' Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 14, 151-159.
Coy, A., and Lorenzo, N. (1982). ''Lista de los helmintos parásitos de los vertebrados silvestres cubanos.'' Poeyana, 235, 1-57.
Drewes, R. C., and Wilkinson, J. A. (2004). ''The California Academy of Sciences Gulf of Guinea Expedition (2001) I. The taxonomic status of the genus Nesionixalus Perret, 1976 (Anura: Hyperoliidae): treefrogs of São Tomé and Príncipe, with comments on the genus Hyperolius.'' Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 55, 395-407.
Estrada, A. R. (1987). ''Los nidos terrestres de dos especies de Eleutherodactylus (Anura: Leptodactylidae).'' Poeyana, 352, 1-9.
Fong, A. (1999). ''Changes in amphibian composition in altered habitats in eastern Cuba.'' Froglog, 36, 2.
Hedges, S. B. and Díaz. L. M. (2004). Eleutherodactylus dimidiatus. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.iucnredlist.org/. Downloaded on 11 November 2007.
Heinicke, M. P., Duellman, W. E., Hedges, S. B. (2007). ''Major Caribbean and Central American frog faunas originated by ancient oceanic dispersal.'' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(24), 10092-10097.
Ruiz, F. N. (1987). Anfibios de Cuba. Cientifíco-Técnica, La Habana.
Schwartz, A., and Henderson, R. W. (1985). A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Inland Press, Milwaukee.
Schwartz, A., and Henderson, R. W. (1991). Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. Descriptions, Distributions, and Natural History. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Originally submitted by: Ansel Fong G. (first posted 2007-11-07)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, Michelle S. Koo (2021-08-08)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Eleutherodactylus dimidiatus: Miniature Robber Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/2892> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 22, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Mar 2023.
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