AmphibiaWeb - Leptodactylus poecilochilus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Leptodactylus poecilochilus (Cope, 1862)
family: Leptodactylidae
subfamily: Leptodactylinae
genus: Leptodactylus
Leptodactylus poecilochilus
© 2010 Division of Herpetology, University of Kansas (1 of 7)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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Adult male SVL ranges between 33 to 49 mm, with SVL in adult females measuring 32 to 50 mm. The head is longer than broad with a subovoid to elliptical snout in dorsal view. The eyes and tympanum are large. Finger I is longer than finger II. Subarticular tubercles are round and projecting. Supernumerary tubercles are lacking on both hands and feet. Tarsi and soles are smooth. Leptodactylus poecilochilus has one to three pairs of dorsolateral folds, but otherwise the dorsum and venter are smooth. Soles and tarsi are smooth as well. The inner metatarsal tubercle is small and elongated; the outer metatarsal tubercle is present but tiny. A smooth, low inner metatarsal fold is present. Neither nuptial pads nor spines are present in males. Adult males have vocal slits that are paired and elongated, as well as paired external lateral vocal sacs (Savage 2002).

Coloration of the dorsum is brownish gray with a spotted or striped pattern. The dorsolateral folds may be the same brownish gray color, but can also have cream or dark brown pigmentation. There is a middorsal light stripe often present. Dark canthal stripe. Dark supratympanic fold. Upper lip has dark spots or bands. Chin usually unpatterned but sometimes has a dark border. Hind limbs are barred dorsally. Across the posterior thigh surface there is a distinctive longitudinal white stripe. Venter is white. Iris is gold. Vocal sacs are black (Savage 2002).

Tadpoles are medium-sized, measuring 36 mm in total length at stage 40. Mouth anteroventral, directed ventrally. Body ovoid. Eyes and nares are dorsal. Spiracle is lateral and sinistral. Vent tube is medial. Caudal fin pointed. Oral disc is small and complete. Beaks and 2/3 denticle rows are present. Above the mouth there is a broad gap in A2. Absent above the mouth, labial papillae are present mostly in two rows. Body is blotched, with darker dorsal color and lighter ventral color. Tail is spotted and blotched (Savage 2002).

Distribution and Habitat

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

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Found in the Pacific lowlands from northern Costa Rica to northern Colombia, and on the Atlantic versant eastward from Costa Rica to northwestern Venezuela, from 3-1,150 m above sea level. This species inhabits marshes, swamps, temporary ponds, and ditches that are located throughout the Pacific lowlands in areas classified as dry, moist, and wet forest. Also occurs into the lowland moist forest on the Atlantic versant of Costa Rica near Laguna de Arenal and premontane rainforest near the border of Panama (Savage 2002, Solís et al. 2004).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Leptodactylus poecilochilus is nocturnal (Savage 2002). Breeding season occurs during the early wet months (generally May through June) (Savage 2002). The call is described as a short rapidly rising pitched "whoop" that lasts about 50 to 60 milliseconds and is repeated about 100 times per minute, shifting frequency from 0.35 kHz to 0.55 kHz (Savage 2002). This species is an explosive breeder, making use of temporary and permanent ponds (Solís et al. 2004). Tadpoles of this species can survive an estimated 140 hours out of water (Valerio 1971).

Trends and Threats
Leptodactylus poecilochilus is common and the population appears stable, with no acknowledged threats. It occurs within several protected areas. This species is opportunistic and can make use of urban areas (Solís et al. 2004).


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


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.

Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Chaves, G., Bolaños, F., Savage, J., Jaramillo, C., Fuenmayor, Q., Estupinan, R.A., and Mijares, A. (2004) Leptodactylus poecilochilus. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. Downloaded on 20 July 2009.

Valerio, C.E. (1971). ''Ability of some tropical tadpoles to survive without water.'' Copeia, 1971(2), 364-365.

Originally submitted by: Lettie Gallup (first posted 2009-07-14)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-11-02)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Leptodactylus poecilochilus <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 22, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 22 Jul 2024.

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