Eleutherodactylus limbatus is a tiny frog, with males and females nearly the same size and reaching only 11.7 and 11.8 mm in SVL, respectively. Glandular areas are absent. There is no webbing between the toes. The digits are small and the digital tips are not expanded. Finger I is approximately of the same length than the finger II. The vomerine teeth are absent (Cope 1862; Schwartz and Henderson 1991).
This frog is dark brown to purplish brown with two straight dorsolateral stripes that are white to yellow on the body and yellow to orange on the head. The snout and the forelimbs are yellow. Flanks are black. The concealed surfaces of thighs have a faintly yellow line along the length of the thigh dorsally. The venter is white to cream; the throat is vivid yellow, sometimes with faint dark dots. (Cope 1862; Schwartz and Henderson 1991).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cuba
This species is endemic to Cuba and it is found throughout the island, at low, moderate and high elevations (up to 1200 m). This is a terrestrial species found in the leaf litter and under objects on the ground in mesic forests, although sometimes it is found in more xeric areas. It is very common in pinewoods (Schwartz and Henderson, 1991; Fong, unpublished).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This frog is diurnally active, vocalizing from the ground surface. Calls consist of a series of irregular, quiet “peeps” with the dominant frequency about 6.3 kHz. It is a direct developing species, depositing a single, large egg under leaf litter. Food includes ants (Camponotus, Odontomachus, Solenopsis) and small beetles. It progresses by small jumps or, more often, walking slowly (Ruiz 1987; Valdes 1989; Schwartz and Henderson 1991; Estrada and Hedges 1996; Fong unpublished).
Trends and Threats
This species is particularly susceptible to disturbance of its forest habitat. Livestock and subsistence agriculture are major threats to this species (Hedges and Diaz 2004). Some natural areas in Eastern Cuba have been degraded and substituted by coffee or timber plantations, or even by pastures, inducing the extinction of this species in its original habitat (Fong 1999).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Eleutherodactylus limbatus is a member of the Eleutherodactylus limbatus group (Subgenus Euhyas). Related species include Eleutherodactylus iberia, E. orientalis, E. etheridgei, and E. cubanus (Heinicke et al. 2007).
Synonyms include Phyllobates limbatus (Cope 1862), and Sminthillus limbatus (Cope 1862).
The chromosome number is 32 (Bogart 1981).
Bogart, J. P. (1981). ''Chromosome studies in Sminthillus from Cuba and Eleutherodactylus from Cuba and Puerto Rico (Anura: Leptodactylidae).'' Life Science Contribution, Royal Ontario Museum, 129, 1-22.
Cope, E. D. (1862). ''On some new and little known American anura.'' Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 14, 151-159.
Drewes, R. C., and Wilkinson, J. A. (2004). ''The California Academy of Sciences Gulf of Guinea Expedition (2001) I. The taxonomic status of the genus Nesionixalus Perret, 1976 (Anura: Hyperoliidae): treefrogs of São Tomé and Príncipe, with comments on the genus Hyperolius.'' Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 55, 395-407.
Estrada, A. R., and Hedges, S.B. (1996). ''At the lower size limit in tetrapods: a new diminutive frog from Cuba (Leptodactylidae: Eleutherodactylus).'' Copeia, 1996(4), 853-859.
Fong, A. (1999). ''Changes in amphibian composition in altered habitats in eastern Cuba.'' Froglog, 36, 2.
Hedges, S. B. and Díaz, L. M. (2004). Eleutherodactylus limbatus. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.iucnredlist.org/. Downloaded on 11 November 2007.
Heinicke, M. P., Duellman, W. E., Hedges, S. B. (2007). ''Major Caribbean and Central American frog faunas originated by ancient oceanic dispersal.'' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(24), 10092-10097.
Ruiz, F. N. (1987). Anfibios de Cuba. Cientifíco-Técnica, La Habana.
Schwartz, A., and Henderson, R. W. (1985). A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Inland Press, Milwaukee.
Schwartz, A., and Henderson, R. W. (1991). Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. Descriptions, Distributions, and Natural History. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Valdés, A. (1989). ''Notas sobre Sminthillus limbatus (Cope).'' Caribbean Journal of Science, 25(1-2), 96-98.
Written by Ansel Fong G. (ansel AT bioeco.ciges.inf.cu), BIOECO, Cuba
First submitted 2007-11-07
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2007-11-12)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2007 Eleutherodactylus limbatus: Habana Robber Frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/3021> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 17, 2017.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Oct 2017.
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