This species is a member of the subgenus Eleutherodactylus. It has a pale, somewhat tuberculate dorsum with greenish-gray mottling, and the flanks are slightly yellowish. The venter is unpigmented with some dark flecks, and extremely areolate. There is a large, light gray papilonaceous mid-dorsal blotch. The limbs have wide, dark markings separated by narrow pale bars. The canthus rostralis is straight in dorsal view and the canthal bar is absent. It has a stout-bodied habitus; the head is as wide as the body. There is no webbing between the toes. The top of the snout has reddish flecks. The iris is gray, and the upper and lower lips are distinctly marked with bars.The digital disks are large and conspicuous. The vomerine teeth, behind the coanes, are straight and angled postero-medially. The chromosome number is 22. Adult size is moderate, averaging 36 mm in males (Hedges et al. 1992).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cuba
This species is endemic to Cuba. It is known only from the type-locality (La Tagua, Meseta del Guaso) in eastern Cuba, at an approximate elevation of 700 m. It inhabits forest areas, secondary vegetation and coffee plantations, all growing on limestone rock.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
These frogs are arboreal. Males usually vocalize from horizontal sites 2-3 m above ground on vines and small trees. The call of this species is a single, short, muffled “mee,” which is repeated many times or continuously in close, regular intervals. Each note has two components, a lower “note” which is constant in pitch and a higher-pitched note that rises slightly. The dominant frequency is about 2.7 kHz.
Trends and Threats
Habitat modification is considered the principal threat to this species (Vale et al. 1998).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Etymology- From the Spanish word for butterfly, in allusion to the large papilonaceous middorsal blotch in this species (Hedges et al. 1992).
Related species- E. leberi, E. guantanamera, E. melacara, E. ionthus, E. varians
Hedges, S.B., Estrada, A.R., and Thomas, R. (1992). ''Three new species of Eleutherodactylus from eastern Cuba, with notes on vocalizations of other species (Anura: Leptodactylidae).'' Herpetological Monographs, 6, 68-83.
Vale, M., Alvarez, A., Montes, L., and Avila, A. (1998). Estudio Nacional sobre la Diversidad Biológica en la República de Cuba. CESYTA, Madrid.
Originally submitted by: Ansel Fong G. (first posted 2004-12-01)
Edited by: Anisha Gandhi (2008-02-03)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Eleutherodactylus mariposa: Cuban Butterfly-marked Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/3041> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 30, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 Jan 2023.
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