AmphibiaWeb - Phasmahyla lisbella


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Phasmahyla lisbella Pereira, Rocha, Folly, Silva & Santana, 2018
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Phyllomedusinae
genus: Phasmahyla
Species Description: Pereira EA, Rocha LCL, Folly H, de Silva HR, Santana DJ 2018 A new species of spotted leaf frog, genus Phasmahyla (Amphibia, Phyllomedusidae) from Southeast Brazil. PeerJ 6:e4900; DOI 10.7717/peerj.4900
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Phasmahyla lisbella is a moderately sized frog, with a snout-vent length of 30.4 - 34.4 mm in males. No females have been observed at the time of the species description. Its head is wider than it is long, and the snout is short, truncated, and slightly rounded at the tip with laterally facing nostrils. The canthus rostralis are slightly distinct, and the loreal region is flat. The protuberant eyes are large, have vertical pupils, are oriented anterolaterally, and have a clear palpebral membrane. Its tympanum is small, and largely hidden by the supratympanic fold. The skin of P. lisbella is grainy, and its body is narrow. The forelimbs are thin, with slight crenulation in the folds, and dermal ridges at the elbows. The order of the digit lengths is I < II < IV < III. Males possess nuptial pads on the base of the first finger made from horny asparaties. The hind limbs are thin as well, with crenulations in the tibia and tarsus. Notable features include the long tarsus and distinct calcar bones. The hind limb digit length order is I < II < III < V < IV, and the outer metatarsal is absent. On both the forelimbs and hind limbs, the digits are slender and free of webbing, and have round discs at the tip (Pereira et al. 2018).

Morphology, coloration, and advertisement call help differentiate P. lisbella from other Phasahyla. A slightly distinct canthus rostralis distinguishes Phasmahyla lisbella from P. cochranae, which has a concave canthus. It can be distinguished from P. exilis by its more robust body, from P. timbo by its reduced laterodorsal glands (well developed in P. timbo), and from P. guttata by its slender forearms and digits (large and robust in P. guttata). Phasmahyla lisbella possesses grainy skin and a translucent palpebral membrane, while the skin of P. cruzi is smooth and its membrane reticulated. Additionally, the calcar bone is well developed in P. lisbella, and poorly developed in P. cochranae, P. jandaia, and P. spectabilis. Phasmahyla lisbella possess ornamental purple spots on their flanks, inguinal region, concealed portions of limbs, and digits, while these spots are absent or faint in P. timbo, only on the flanks and thighs of P. exilis, and reduced in P. spectabilis. Lastly, the advertisement call of P. lisbella consists of a single pulse, compared to the 2 - 4 pulses that are characteristic of the calls of P. spectabilis and P. timbo (Pereira et al. 2018).

In life, the dorsal surfaces of the body, limbs, and head are moss green with small purple brown dots. It has been observed that at night, these regions take on a brownish purple hue. The upper arms and digits are orange with small purple spots, and the flanks, inguinal region, and internal and external faces of the limbs are orange with larger purple spots. The ventral surface is whitish gray, the nuptial pads are dark brown, and the eyes are silverish-cream (Pereira et al. 2018).

In preservation, the dorsal surfaces of the body, limbs, and head are purple with small dark brown dots. The upper arms and digits are cream with purple spots, and the flanks, inguinal region, and internal and external faces of the limbs are cream with more sparse purple spots. The ventral surfaces and nuptial pads are cream, and the eyes are gray (Pereira et al. 2018).

There is no significant variation in coloration or morphology among observed specimens (Pereira et al. 2018).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil

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At the time of the species description, P. lisbella was only known at the type locality: Fazenda Ventania, Área de Proteção Ambiental Ventania, Miracema municipality, Rio de Janeiro state in southeast Brazil. The forest is semi-deciduous and seasonal (Pereira et al. 2018).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Despite being common and easy to find at the type locality, only a small number of P. lisbella have been observed because of their recent identification. Little is known about their life history, abundance, activity, and behavior (Pereira et al. 2018).

The species was collected from shrubbery, about 1.75 - 20 cm above the ground, on the bank of a stream (Pereira et al. 2018).

Other species in the genus Phasmahyla are known to appear green during daytime rest and take on a purple hue during nighttime activity for camouflage, and this color change has also been observed in P. lisbella (Pereira et al. 2018).

The calls of three adult males were recorded at 21:10 h at the type locality. The calls were sporadic, without frequency modulation, and consisted of one note with a single pulse. The call duration ranged from 0.007 - 0.087 seconds, had a dominant frequency of 1894.9 - 2239.5 Hz, and lasted for 7 - 87 ms (Pereira et al. 2018).

A clutch of 43 eggs was also found in the same locality as the adults. The eggs are cream colored in transparent jelly. The clutch was arranged along the stem of a leaf about 1 meter above the stream and deposited with transparent jelly in a “laminar array” that folded the leaf (Pereira et al. 2018).

Phasmahyla lisbella tadpoles at stage 37 have a snout-vent length of 41.3 - 44 mm and an ovoid body from the dorsal view. They have a wide, anterodorsal mouth surrounded by fleshy dermal folds. The nostrils are indistinct, ovoid, and oriented laterally. The eyes are large and well developed. There is a non-protruding spiracle in the middle of the ventral side, which has a wide opening and is slightly sinistral. The tail is narrow and has well developed musculature, with a flagelliform tip that curves ventrally. The fins span from the end of the body and begin to taper off midway to the end of the tail, and the dorsal fin is larger than the ventral fin (Pereira et al. 2018).

Phasmahyla lisbella tadpoles lack an anterior row of teeth, which is present in all other species within the genus Phasmahyla except P. cruzi (Pereira et al. 2018).

In life, the tadpoles at stage 39 are beige-green with sparse dark round spots. The caudal musculature is lighter brown with light beige splotches, and there is a dark median longitudinal band through the anterior third of the tail. The eyes have a cream iris and black pupil (Pereira et al. 2018).

In preservation, the tadpoles at stage 37 are grayish-beige with dark brown spots concentrated on the lateral faces of the head. The caudal musculature is light brown with beige splotches, and there is a dark median longitudinal band through the anterior third of the tail. The belly and fins are light brown and translucent (Pereira et al. 2018).

Tadpoles are found in the stream near the adults (Pereira et al. 2018).

Trends and Threats
Área de Proteção Ambiental Ventania, where P. lisbella resides, is becoming fragmented and degraded due to human activities including timber extraction, agricultural expansion, and non-native plantations. To learn more about trends and threats to P. lisbella, further research must be done to assess the current population (Pereira et al. 2018).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation


Bayesian analysis of mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene indicate that P. lisbella is the sister taxa to P. spectabilis. Together they are sister to P. cruzi (Pereira et al. 2018).

The species epithet, “lisbella”, is in honor of Lis Alves Pereira de Oliveira da Rocha and Bella Alves Pereira Custódio da Rocha, who are nieces of Lucas Custódio Lomba Rocha, one of the species authorities of P. lisbella (Pereira et al. 2018).


Periera, E. A., Rocha, L. C. L., Folly H., da Silva, H. R., Santana, D. J. (2018). “A new species of spotted leaf frog, genus Phasmahyla (Amphibia, Phyllomedusidae) from Southeast Brazil.” PeerJ 6, e4900. [link]

Originally submitted by: Ashley Watts (2022-10-17)
Description by: Ashley Watts (updated 2022-10-17)
Distribution by: Ashley Watts (updated 2022-10-17)
Life history by: Ashley Watts (updated 2022-10-17)
Larva by: Ashley Watts (updated 2022-10-17)
Trends and threats by: Ashley Watts (updated 2022-10-17)
Comments by: Ashley Watts (updated 2022-10-17)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-10-17)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Phasmahyla lisbella <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 14, 2024.

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

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