AmphibiaWeb - Physalaemus moreirae


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Physalaemus moreirae (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1937)
Sorocaba Dwarf Frog
family: Leptodactylidae
subfamily: Leiuperinae
genus: Physalaemus
Physalaemus moreirae
© 2018 Mauro Teixeira Jr (1 of 4)

sound file   hear call (14643.9K WAV file)

[call details here]

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
National Status Least Concern (LC)
Regional Status Least Concern (LC) in the Red List of São Paulo


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Physalaemus moreirae is a small frog (SVL 25-7 mm in males, 24.8-28.2 mm in females) that belongs to the P. signifer species group (Nascimento et al. 2005). Snout rounded in profile, tympanum indistinct, weak supratympanic fold, vocal slits present, vocal sac single, slightly expanded externally, extending to border of chest with belly, one pair of brown nuptial pads on each thumb, dorsolateral fold from eye to groin along demarcation of dorsal and flank color, large tear-shaped lumbar gland in groin, narrow portion directed anteriorly, dorsum smooth with scattered low glandular warts, tubercles warty, tubercles most noticeable on upper eyelids, throat and belly smooth, right heel with low glandular tubercle (Heyer 1985; Heyer et al. 1990). Call duration 0.50-0.70 s; calls given frequently when calling; call with harmonics and pulses, call ending with short non-pulsed portion, pulse rate about 50 per s. Dominant frequency range 600-1600 Hz (Heyer 1985; Heyer et al. 1990; Giaretta et al. 2009).

The tadpole was described in detail by Provete et al. (2011, including internal oral features and chondrocranial morphology. The body is ovoid in dorsal view and depressed in lateral view. Snout rounded. The dorsal fin originates on the body, and is slightly higher than the ventral fin, with maximum height at the middle third. Oral disc antero-ventral, laterally emarginated, with a single row of marginal papillae, alternated ventrally. Submarginal papillae are present ventrally and are usually taller than marginal papillae. The LTRF is 2(2)/3(1).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
P. moreirae lives in swamps with flowing water inside primary and secondary forests along a narrow extent of the Serra do Mar range in the state of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil, up to 1, 200 m asl.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Males of P. moreirae can be found calling at night during the rainy season, between August and March (Provete et al. 2011) in swamps or small rivulets inside primary and secondary forests (Heyer et al. 1990), where it builds a foam nest. Tadpoles are benthic and are found in temporary swamps with muddy bottoms (Provete et al. 2011), between October and December. Males apparently occur in low frequency and usually call hidden below dead leaves on the forest floor. More information is needed about the natural history of this species and its habitat requirements.

Trends and Threats
The range of this species is within protected areas, such as Estação Biológica de Boracéia, Parque Natural Municipal Nascentes de Paranapiacaba, and Parque das Neblinas. Main threats to P. moreirae are logging and industrial pollution from Cubatão.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Drainage of habitat
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat
Habitat fragmentation
Long-distance pesticides, toxins, and pollutants

Originally described by Miranda-Ribeiro (1937), as Engystomops moreirae. Subsequently, Heyer (1985) described Physalaemus franciscae (named in honor of Francisca Carolina do Val, MZ-USP) from Boracéia; P. franciscae was synonymized with P. moreirae by Caramaschi and Caramaschi (1991), who also clarified the type-locality of the species to be Sororocaba, Santos, Brazil.


Caramaschi, U. and Caramaschi, É. P. (1991). ''Reassessment of the type-locality and synonymy of Physalaemus moreirae (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1937) (Anura: Leptodactylidae).'' Journal of Herpetology, 25, 107-108.

Giarretta, A. A., Martins, L. B. and Santos, M. P. D. (2009). ''Further notes on the taxonomy of four species of Physalaemus (Anura, Leiuperidae) from the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil.'' Zootaxa, 2266, 51–60.

Heyer, W. R. (1985). ''New species of frogs from Boracéia, São Paulo, Brazil.'' Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 98, 657-671.

Heyer, W. R., Rand, A. S., Cruz, C. A. G., Peixoto, O. L., and Nelson, C. E. (1990). ''Frogs of Boracéia.'' Arquivos de Zoologia Sao Paulo, 31, 231-410.

Miranda-Ribeiro, A. de (1937). ''Alguns batrachios novos das colleçcões do Museo Nacional.'' O Campo, 8, 66-69.

Nascimento, L.B., Caramaschi, U., and Cruz, C.A.G. (2005). ''Taxonomic review of the species groups of the genus Physalaemus Fitzinger, 1826 with revalidation of the genera Engystomops Jiménez-de-la-Espada, 1872 and Eupemphix Steindachner, 1863 (Amphibia, Anura, Leptodactylidae).'' Arquivos do Museu Nacional, 63, 297-320.

Provete, D. B., Garey, M. V., Dias, N. Y. N. and Rossa-Feres, D. C. (2011). ''The tadpole of Physalaemus moreirae (Anura: Leiuperidae).'' Herpetologica, 67, 258–270.

Originally submitted by: Diogo B. Provete (first posted 2011-11-04)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2011-11-09)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2011 Physalaemus moreirae: Sorocaba Dwarf Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 19, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 Jul 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.