AmphibiaWeb - Teratohyla spinosa


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Teratohyla spinosa (Taylor, 1949)
Dwarf Glassfrog, Minute Spiny Glassfrog, Rana de Cristal Enana, Rana de Cristal espinosa
family: Centrolenidae
subfamily: Centroleninae
genus: Teratohyla
Teratohyla spinosa
© 2015 Dr. Peter Janzen (1 of 24)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (4 records).


Diagnosis: Small uniformly green frog that can be distinguished by a free prepollex at the base of the thumb with an exposed spine in adult males, a round to truncate snout in profile, dark green bones, and only the parietal peritoneal sheath and heart white (Savage 2002).

Description: This rarely seen small frog has a snout vent length ranging from 17.8 mm to 20 mm in adult males and 20 mm to 23 mm in adult females. The head is as wide as long and appears truncated in profile and semicircular in outline. The eyes are large and protuberant, and the interorbital space between is larger than the diameter of the eyes. The snout has a subovoid outline and appears truncated. The tympanum is indistinct and is directed obliquely upward. Vomerine teeth are present in two small patches that are widely separated and immediately medial to the choanae. The body shape is small and slender. The dorsal skin is granular in texture. Finger and toe discs are truncated. Fingers have small subarticular tubercles but no supernumerary tubercles. Accessory palmar and plantar tubercles are present. Finger I is longer than Finger II; vestigial webbing is present between these two fingers. More substantial webbing exists between the outer fingers in the pattern II 2-3 III 2 - 1 3/4 IV. Toes are moderately webbed, described as I 1-2 II 1-2 III 1-2 IV 2-1 V. An elongated inner metatarsal tubercle is present, but the outer metatarsal tubercle is lacking. No inner tarsal fold. Males possess a white nuptial pad on the lateral margin and dorsal of the thumb base. Frogs of this species possess a free prepollex. In larger males the prepollical spine projects externally (Savage 2002).

The coloration is uniformly green on the dorsum, with white pigmentation on the undersides of limbs. The iris is gray-ivory with a black reticulum. This species has dark green bones and a white heart (Savage 2002).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (4 records).
Honduras (McCranie and Wilson 2002; McCranie 2007), Nicaragua (Sunyer and Köhler 2007; Sunyer et al. 2009), Costa Rica (Savage 2002; Kubicki 2007), Panama (Savage 2002), Colombia (Ruiz-Carranza et al. 1996), Ecuador (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2005; Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007; Cisneros-Heredia 2009). Teratohyla spinosa is distributed in the humid Atlantic lowlands and wet forests ranging from Costa Rica to eastern Panama and south along the Pacific versant to western Ecuador (Savage 2002). It has been found at up to 650 m asl in Costa Rica and 800 m asl in Panama (Coloma et al. 2008).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Throughout the wet season lasting from May to October, males call from the low vegetation surrounding small streams (Savage 2002). The voice of Teratohyla spinosa is similar to that of Cochranella euknemos and Cochranella granulosa : a harsh series of repeating "creep, creeps" with considerable pauses in between (Savage 2002). The dominant frequency is 6.8 to 7.2 kHz (Ibañez et al. 1999).

Teratohyla spinosa females lay 18-25 green eggs on the underside of vegetation in a single layer of loose jelly. The eggs and capsules together are 5 to 7 mm in diameter. While embryos appear gray upon hatching, they develop light brown upper-sides and paler under-sides in later stages. Juvenile frogs are 16 mm in standard length when first metamorphosed (Savage 2002).

Trends and Threats
This species is common in Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, and there are a number of recent reports from Nicaragua. It is not common in either Honduras or Ecuador. The population trend appears to be decreasing. Major threats include habitat loss due to deforestation for agriculture, logging, and human settlement, and pollution from spraying illegal crops. It is found in a number of protected areas, although not in Ecuador (Coloma et al. 2008).

This species was first described by Taylor (1949).

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


Cisneros-Heredia, D. F. (2009). ''Amphibia, Anura, Centrolenidae, Chimerella mariaelenae (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid, 2006), Rulyrana flavopunctata (Lynch and Duellman, 1973), Teratohyla pulverata (Peters, 1873), and Teratohyla spinosa (Taylor, 1949): Historical records, distribution extension and new provincial record in Ecuador.'' Check List. Journal of Species Lists and Distribution, 5, 912-916.

Cisneros-Heredia, D. F., and McDiarmid, R. W. (2005). ''Amphibia, Centrolenidae, Centrolene peristictum, Centrolene prosoblepon, Cochranella cochranae, Cochranella midas, Cochranella resplendens, Cochranella spinosa, Hyalinobatrachium munozorum: range extensions and new provincial records.'' Check List. Journal of Species Lists and Distribution, 1, 18-22.

Cisneros-Heredia, D. F., and McDiarmid, R. W. (2007). ''Revision of the characters of Centrolenidae (Amphibia: Anura: Athesphatanura), with comments on its taxonomy and the description of new taxa of glassfrogs.'' Zootaxa, 1572, 1-82.

Coloma, L. A., Ron, S., Wild, E., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Jaramillo, C., Chaves, G., Savage, J., Cruz, G., Wilson, L. D., Köhler, G., Kubicki, B., and Berlin, E. (2008). Cochranella spinosa. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. Downloaded on 05 May 2010.

Ibañez, R., Rand, A. S. and Jaramillo, C. A. (1999). Los Anfibios del Monumento Natural Barro Colorado, Parque Nacional Soberanía y Areas Adyacentes. Mizrachi, E. and Pujol, S. A., Santa Fe de Bogota.

Kubicki, B. (2007). Glass Frogs of Costa Rica/ Rana de Vidrio de Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica.

McCranie, J. R. (2007). ''Distribution of the amphibians of Honduras by departments.'' Herpetological Review, 38(1), 35-39.

McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (2002). ''The Amphibians of Honduras.'' Contributions to Herpetology, Vol 19. K. Adler and T. D. Perry, eds., Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

Ruiz-Carranza, P.M., Ardila-Robayo, M.C., and Lynch, J.D (1996). ''Lista actualizada de la fauna de Amphibia de Colombia.'' Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, 20(77), 365-415.

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.

Sunyer, J. and Kohler, G. (2007). ''New country and departmental records of herpetofauna in Nicaragua.'' Salamandra, 43, 57-62.

Sunyer, J., Páiz, G., Dehling, D. M., and Köhler, G. (2009). ''A collection of amphibians from Río San Juan, southeastern Nicaragua.'' Herpetology Notes, 2, 189-202.

Taylor, E. H. (1949). ''Costa Rican frogs of the genera Centrolene and Centrolenella.'' University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 33, 257-270.

Originally submitted by: Alexis Leigh Krup (first posted 2009-09-17)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2019-03-06)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2019 Teratohyla spinosa: Dwarf Glassfrog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 21, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Jun 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.