AmphibiaWeb - Bromeliohyla dendroscarta


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Bromeliohyla dendroscarta (Taylor, 1940)
Greater Bromeliad Treefrog
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Hylinae
genus: Bromeliohyla
Species Description: Taylor, E. H. (1940). "Two new anuran amphibians from Mexico." Proceedings of the United States National Museum 89: 43–47.

© 2010 Division of Herpetology, University of Kansas (1 of 2)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Endangered (EN)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Bromeliohyla dendroscarta is a medium sized treefrog, previously known as Hyla dendroscarta, with a snout-vent length reported to reach up to 35mm long. The head is a little broader than its body. The snout is pointed, with the nostrils are approximately 1 mm from the tip. The canthus rostralis is rounded and the loreal region is slightly concave behind the nostrils. The eyes are of moderate size with a diameter less than the length of its snout and pupils that run horizontally. Tympana are present, but not easily distinguishable as they are half the diameter of the eyes and covered by pigmented skin similar in coloring to that of its body. The fingers are webbed up to a little over one-third of the way up and continue as a narrow fringe towards the terminal discs, which are larger on the outer fingers. The terminal discs of the outer fingers and hands are larger than tympanum. The subarticular tubercles of the outer fingers of the frog are bifid. When adpressed along the body, the tibiotarsal articulation of the frog reaches its nostril. Tarsal folds are present, though not well developed. The toes are webbed a little over two-thirds of the way up with a narrow margin of membrane that continues towards terminal discs. The terminal discs of the toes are large and well-developed but not as large as those on fingers. The fingers are one-third webbed, and its toes are two-thirds webbed. The membranes on both feet and hands are granular in texture. The skin of the head, chin, and throat are slightly granular, while the skin of the body is smooth. The skin of the chest, abdomen, underside and posterior of femur are heavily granular in texture. Males have small vocal sacs (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Taylor 1940).

Tadpole bodies are compressed dorsoventrally. The eyes are widely spaced, pointed laterally, and small. Mouth is ventral and small with surrounding papillae, except on anterior region of upper lip (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Taylor 1940).

A character that distinguishes B. dendroscarta from other Bromeliohyla are their heavily pigmented gums between and at the base of their teeth (Taylor 1940).

In life, B. dendroscarta’s color varies, ranging from yellow with small brown dots on the dorsal surface to green on the dorsal surface of the arms, head, and legs. The iris of the eyes are golden with black reticulations. Ventral surfaces are lemon yellow. In alcohol, the dorsal surface is a faint lavender color, while the ventral surface is a creamy white that looks spotted while under a microscope (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Taylor 1940).

Tadpoles bodies and tails are cream-colored, and the venter is transparent (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Taylor 1940).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Bromeliohyla dendroscarta can be found on the Atlantic slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental and associated ranges, including the Sierra Negra, as well as in central Veracruz and northern Oaxaca in Mexico. It occurs from 450 - 1900 m as where it inhabits cloud forests, pine-oak forests, and semideciduous tropical forests. Within these habitats, B. dendroscarta is known for breeding and seeking refuge in bromeliad plants (Santos-Barrera and Canseco-Márquez 2004, Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Vasquez-Cruz et al. 2019).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Bromeliohyla dendroscarta is arboreal and uses bromeliad plants as a microhabitat for refuge and reproduction. The frog's abundance is usually higher in habitats that contain higher densities of bromeliads (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Vasquez-Cruz et al. 2019).

Primarily, B. dendroscarta utilizes the bromeliads for the protection of its egg clutches and tadpoles (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Vasquez-Cruz et al. 2019).

Since egg clutches can be found in bromeliads with every season, it can be assumed that reproduction happens year-round for B. dendroscarta (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Vasquez-Cruz et al. 2019).

Bromeliohyla dendroscarta tadpoles have been reported to only consume detritus and decaying arthropods that fall into the bromeliads they are housed within, making growth and development highly dependent on the plants and their interactions with arthropods (Canesco-Marquez et al. 2018, Vasquez-Cruz et al. 2019).

Trends and Threats
Bromeliohyla dendroscarta is considered by the IUCN to be “Critically Endangered” as its populations are in serious decline and it faces multiple threats ranging from deforestation, the altering of cloud forests that impact bromeliad abundance, and chytrid fungi disease (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) (Santos-Barrera and Canseco-Márquez 2004).

The species was not seen between 1974 and 2018 (Santos-Barrera and Canseco-Márquez 2004, Canseco-Marquez et al. 2019).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Habitat fragmentation
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.


Based on morphology and life history, B. dendroscarta was thought to be closely related to B. bromeliacia (Duellman 1970). This was further supported by Faivovich et al. (2005) in their phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial genes of the family Hylidae that included both species. Based on this evidence, Faivovich et al. (2005) created the genus Bromeliohyla. In 2018, Faivovich et al. re-estimated the Hylidae phylogeny resulting in the addition of B. melacaena (formerly of the genus Isthmohyla) to the genus Bromeliohyla with 87% jackknife support. However, the 2018 analysis did not include all three members of Bromeliohyla.

The genus name Bromeliohyla is the combination of the words “Bromelia” and “Hyla”, to represent the characteristic behavior of breeding in bromeliads (Faviovich et al. 2005).


Canesco-Márquez, L., López, J.L.A., Manzano, R.L., Mayén, G.G., Benitez, D.H. (2018). “Rediscovery of two threatened species of treefrogs (Anura: Hylidae) from Southern Mexico.” Herpetology Notes 11, 23-29. [link]

Duellman, W.E. (1970). The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas.

Faivovich, J., Haddad, C. F. B., Garcia, P. C. A., Frost, D. R., Campbell, J. A., Wheeler, W. C. (2005). ''Systematic review of the frog family Hylidae, with special reference to Hylinae: phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision.'' Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, (294), 1-240. [link]

Faivovich, J., Pereyra, M.O., Luna, M.C., Hertz, A., Blotto, B.L., Vásquez-Almazán, C.R., McCranie, J.R., Sánchez, D.A., Baêta, D., Araujo-Vieira, K., Köhler, G., Kubicki, B., Campbell, J.A., Frost, D.R., Wheeler, W.C., Haddad, C.F.B. (2018). ''On the monophyly and relationships of several genera of Hylini (Anura: Hylidae: Hylinae), with comments on recent taxonomic changes in Hylids.'' South American Journal of Herpetology, 13(1), 1-32. [link]

Santos-Barrera, G., Canseco-Márquez, L. (2004). "Bromeliohyla dendroscarta." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T55466A11315413. Downloaded 4 May 2020

Taylor, E. H. (1940). “Two new anuran amphibians from Mexico.” Proceedings of the United States National Museum 89: 43–47.

Vásquez-Cruz, V., Canseco-Márquez, L., Reynoso-Martínez, A. (2019). "Distributional and natural history notes for Bromeliohyla dendroscarta (Anura: Hylidae) in Veracruz, Mexico." Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 18(1), 27-36.

Originally submitted by: Jonathan Vangay (2022-02-24)
Description by: Jonathan Vangay (updated 2022-02-24)
Distribution by: Jonathan Vangay (updated 2022-02-24)
Life history by: Jonathan Vangay (updated 2022-02-24)
Trends and threats by: Jonathan Vangay (updated 2022-02-24)
Comments by: Jonathan Vangay (updated 2022-02-24)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-02-24)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Bromeliohyla dendroscarta: Greater Bromeliad Treefrog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 21, 2024.

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

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