Proceratophrys moratoi
family: Odontophrynidae

© 2011 Michel Aguiar Passos (1 of 8)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Critically Endangered (CR)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Description: Proceratophrys moratoi has a small robust body. It has a SVL of approximately 27.6 mm to 35.7 mm. The skin is highly rugose (Caramaschi and Jim 1980; Martins and Giaretta 2011). The head is wider than long. The snout is truncated in profile and rounded in dorsal view. It has a slightly defined canthus rostralis. The loreal region is slightly convex. It has slightly elevated nares. Two arched tuberculate ridges run from the corners of the eyes to the nostrils. The eyes protrude and the upper eyelid bears large and small scattered tubercles. Large tubercles form a ridge on the edge of the eyelid. Post-orbital, parotoid, and temporal glands are absent. The tympanum is indistinct. Thenar surfaces of hands and feet are tuberculate. No webbing is present on the hands or feet. Males have a single, developed subgular vocal sac (Caramaschi and Jim 1980). This species lacks paired tubercular sagittal crests on the dorsum, which generally run from eyelids to coccyx in other congeners (Martins and Giaretta 2011).

Diagnosis: Like P. vielliardi, P. moratoi lacks paired tubercular sagittal crests, but can be distinguished from P. vielliardi by a smaller body size (males are 24.7-31.0 mm in SVL in P. moratoi; males are 39.1–41.9 mm in SVL in P. vielliardi). It is also distinguished by having an X-shaped mark on the dorsum (lacking in P. vielliardi) and by having the zygomatic ramus of the squamosal, elongated but not contacting the maxilla. The zygomatic ramus of the squamosal is in contact with the maxilla for P. vielliardi. Its advertisement call is a single note for P. moratoi. P. vielliardi has a multi-note advertisement call (Martins and Giaretta 2011).

Coloration: An X-shaped marking is present on the dorsum (Martins and Giaretta 2011).

Tadpole Morphology: The tadpole has an elliptical body in dorsal view, and a globular, depressed body in lateral view. The snout is rounded, with small, rounded dorsally located nostrils. It has large eyes that are located dorsally and are directed laterally. The spiracle is sinistral, short and located on the medial third of the body. The vent tube is dextral and is attached to the entire length of the ventral. The oral disc is ventral; it is laterally emarginate and is bordered by a single row of large, conical marginal papillae except for the upper ridge. The labial teeth are black and slightly curved toward the mouth. Medial gaps are present in the innermost upper row and the innermost lower row of denticles. Jaw sheaths are black and have triangular, pointed serrations; the upper sheath is slightly convex and the lower sheath is U-shaped. The tail has a rounded tip, heavy caudal musculature and a dorsal fin deeper than the rectilineal ventral fin (Rossa-Feres and Jim 1996).

Tadpole Coloration: In life, the tadpole body is reddish brown with scattered silver-gray dots dorsally and laterally. A rectangular dark spot is present on the dorsal fin origin. The venter is transparent. The tail is light brown with a few dark spots on the dorsal surface. The caudal musculature has small dark dots that coalesce into a thin dark stripe on the proximal third of the tail. Tailfins are transparent with a few small dark spots. In preservative, the body is yellowish-brown, and transparent laterally and ventrally; the proximal third of the tail is cream-colored and the rest is transparent; fins are transparent and sparsely spotted with dark spots (Rossa-Feres and Jim 1996).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Brazil


View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Endemic to southeastern Brazil, P. moratoi is present in São Paulo State, in several municipalities including the Brotas, São Carlos, Bauru, Avaré Municipaliites, and in the Cerrado "campo sujo" at 550-900 m asl (Rolim et al. 2010; Caramaschi and Jim 1980; Brasileiro et al. 2008; Carvalho et al. 2010; Maffei et al. 2011).

P. moratoi is terrestrial and its habitat ranges from open areas of sandy soil, within a mosaic of cultivated sugarcane cropland and remnant secondary forest, and flooded areas near streams (Carvalho et al. 2010; Caramaschi and Jim 1980; Rolim et al. 2010). Its habitat in Itirapina is gallery forest (Brasileiro 2004).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Breeding season lasts from mid-October to February, and males call both during the day and at night (Caramaschi and Jim 1980). Males were found vocalizing on the ground made of compacted bare soil, in small burrows at the base of Brachiaria sp. vegetation. Calls can be heard from at least 400 m away (Maffei et al. 2011). Populations differ slightly in call frequency duration of notes, pulses per note and mean note repetition (Brasileiro et al. 2008).

This species breeds in small, shallow, slow-moving streams. Tadpoles are found in shady areas of the streamlets (Rossa-Feres and Jim 1996).

Trends and Threats
The Cerrado biome where P. moratoi lives has been largely deforested. It only has 211,000 hectares, divided into about 8,000 small fragments of which half are less than 10 hectares (Maffei et al. 2011). Although ten years of surveys at the type locality failed to find this species, additional populations have been found and it is still surviving in the wild (Maffei et al. 2011). It can tolerate some habitat disturbance (Carvalho et al. 2010; Maffei et al. 2011). It occurs in at least one protected area, the Jardim Botânico Municipal de Bauru (Rolim et al. 2010). The largest population appears to be in Estação Ecológica de Itirapina (282 captures over a 2 year study), while the Bauru and São Carlos populations seem to be much smaller (Maffei et al. 2011).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Loss of genetic diversity from small population phenomena

The species was transferred to the genus Proceratophrys, from the genus Odontophrynus by Amaro et al. (2009).


Amaro, R. C., Pavan, D., and Rodrigues, M. T. (2009). ''On the generic identity of Odontophrynus moratoi Jim & Caramaschi, 1980 (Anura, Cycloramphidae) .'' Zootaxa, 2071, 61-68.

Brasileiro, C. A., Martins, I. A., and Jim, J. (2008). ''Amphibia, Anura, Cycloramphidae, Odontophrynus moratoi: Distribution extension and advertisement call.'' Check List, 4, 382-385.

Caramaschi, U. and Jim, J. (1980). ''Uma nova espécie de Odontophrynus da região de Botucatu, São Paulo.'' Revista Brasileira de Biologia, 40, 357-360.

Carvalho, R. R. Jr., Kleinsorgeand, J. M. D., and Fusinatto, L. A. (2010). ''Amphibia, Anura, Cycloramphidae, Odontophrynus moratoi Jim and Caramaschi, 1980: Filling gaps. Discovery of a new population in the state of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil .'' Check List, 6, 36-37.

Maffei, F., et al. (2011). ''Discovery of the fifth population of a threatened and endemic toad of the Brazilian Cerrado, Proceratophrys moratoi (Anura, Cycloramphidae).'' Herpetological Notes, 4, 95-96.

Martins, L. B., and Giaretta, A. A. (2011). ''A new species of Proceratophrys Miranda-Ribeiro (Amphibia: Anura: Cycloramphidae) from central Brazil.'' Zootaxa, 2880, 41-50.

Rolim, D. C. , Martinez, R. A. M. , Almeida, S. C., Ubaid, F. K., Maffei, F., and Jim, J. (2010). ''Amphibia, Anura, Cycloramphidae, Proceratophrys moratoi (Jim and Caramaschi, 1980): Distribution extension and new altitudinal record in state of São Paulo, Brazil.'' Check List, 6, 576-578.

Rossa-Feres, D.C. and Jim, J. (1996). ''Tadpole of Odontophrynus moratoi (Anura, Leptodactylidae).'' Journal of Herpetology, 30, 536-539.

Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., and Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Written by Meghan Bishop and Kellie Whittaker (Meghanrbishop AT, San Francisco State University
First submitted 2010-06-24
Edited by Kellie Whittaker, Mingna (Vicky) Zhuang (2012-04-15)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Proceratophrys moratoi <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 23, 2017.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Oct 2017.

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