AmphibiaWeb - Craugastor brocchi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Craugastor brocchi (Boulenger, 1882)

Subgenus: Craugastor
family: Craugastoridae
genus: Craugastor

© 2000 Jonathan Campbell (1 of 2)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

This species is characterized by: (1) skin of dorsum smooth, with weakly developed tympanic, parietal, and suprascapular ridges; (2) canthus rostralis moderately sharp; (3) tympanum distinct, length 76-91% (average= 87%) length of eye in adult males, 42-50% (average= 47%) in adult females; (4) first finger slightly to distinctly longer than second; fingers bearing definite discs (discs on fingers III and IV almost twice width of digit); fingers bearing weak to moderately developed lateral keels; (5) inner tarsal fold weak, extending from about two-thirds to three-fourths the distance from inner metatarsal tubercle to heel; (6) toe discs definitely expanded, 1.5 times width of digit on toes III-IV; (7) toes bearing moderately well-defined lateral keels; (8) toe-webbing basal, toe-webbing formula I 2 - 2' II 2 1/4 - 3 3/4 III 3 1/4 - 4 1/4 IV 4 1/4 - 3 V; (9) vocal slits absent in adult males; (10) nuptial pads absent in adult males; (11) in life, belly bright yellow or chartreuse with reddish posteriorly and on undersurface of thighs, chest often heavily marked with large distinct dark spots; (12) throat moderately to heavily pigmented with distinct brown spots or mottling; (13) dorsum pale to dark brown, reddish brown, or gray-brown, often with a few irregular darker streaks associated with glandular ridges; interorbital bar usually well defined; distinct dark markings on side of head along lips and beneath eye; dark limb bars obscure or absent in adults, usually present in juveniles and subadults; (14) groin with complex markings of large, bold, dark spots or mottling on pale back-ground; (15) posterior surface of thighs dark with large bold spots; (16) underside of shank spotted with dark markings; (17) adults large, five largest males 37.1-51.0 (average= 41.9) mm SVL, eight largest females 66.1-83.3 (average= 76.1) mm SVL; (18) VDP slightly smaller or about equal (males) to considerably larger (females) in size than choanae, separated by 0.5-1.0 VDP width in males and 0.1-0.3 VDP width in females, each process bearing 5 teeth along posterior border in males and 7-1 teeth in females .

Craugastor brocchi is one of several boldly patterned upland frogs in the Nuclear Central American uplands. Adult males of this species lack both vocal slits and nuptial pads; thus differing from C. pozo in which adult males possess vocal slits. Further, C. pozo has a more darkly pigmented belly, a complete canthal stripe, relatively small pale spots on the posterior of the thigh, and the lower surface of the shank suffused with brown pigment. Craugastor charadra varies from Craugastor. brocchi in being a smaller frog (males and females reach 37.9 and 67.0 mm, respectively, versus 41.9 and 83.3 mm), in having the posterior surface of the thigh marked with much smaller spots, in having the groin marked with relatively inconspicuous (versus bold) dark mottling, in having more toe webbing, and in having a strong (versus weak) tarsal fold.

Variation- The following proportions are for the five largest males and the eight largest females; qualitative features are based on the entire sample. In males, the head is 90-7% (average= 94%) as wide as long, the HW is 35-40% (average= 38%) of the SVL, and the HL is 39-42% (average= 40%) of the SVL. In females, the head is 101-113% (average= 105%) as wide as long, the HW is 40-46% (average= 46%) of the SVL, and the HL is 37-43% (average= 40%) of the SVL. The shank is long and slender and is 54-64% (average= 61%) of the SVL in males and females. Top of head flat in interorbital region; loreal region concave; supratympanic fold well developed, extending from posterior edge of eye but not reaching insertion of forearm; tympanum prominent, round in males, slightly oblong vertically in females; TM 76-91% (average= 87%) of EL in males, 42-50% (average= 47%) in females. The skin on the dorsum of the body and limbs is smooth with a few weak glandular ridges; the eyelids have several large tubercles; the skin on the flanks is weakly areolate; the belly and ventral surfaces of the thighs is finely wrinkled; the skin below the vent and ventral surface of the thighs is areolate; a fold extends across the chest from the axillary region; the ulnar tubercles are absent or reduced to several low, pale spots; and the heel is smooth or with a few tiny tubercles.

In life, the dorsum of the body and limbs is pale to medium brown, reddish brown, or gray-brown, usually with a few small black streaks associated with the parietal, suprascapular, and supratympanic ridges. The top of the parietal and supra-scapular ridges are sometimes reddish. An incomplete canthal stripe may be present in large females, but is usually absent in juveniles and males. A black interorbital bar is usually present. The inguinal region and usually the axillary region of adult females is cream with bold black spots or mottling. The posterior surface of the thigh is blacks with bold pale yellow spots or mottling. This pattern is boldest in adult females, less conspicuous in males, sub-adults, and juveniles. The throat is cream to charcoal gray, becoming a bright sulphur yellow or chartreuse on the belly with red posteriorly and on undersurface of the thighs. Heavy white speckling is present on the throat, chest, and flanks. The iris is bronze with black reticulations. In preservative, the ground color is pale to medium brown or pale gray. The dorsum is usually unmarked except for a few small dark spots or streaks associated with the parietal and suprascapular ridges. A dark interorbital bar is present. Dark limb bars are vaguely indicated or absent in adults. In adults, the pattern in the inguinal region and on the posterior surface of the thighs is bold, consisting of sharply contrasting dark brown or black and yellow or white markings. Pale spots on the posterior of the thigh are large and distinct. The venter is pale with dark spots which are sometimes confined to the chest, but which may be present over the belly as well (Campbell and Savage 2000).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Guatemala, Mexico


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Atlantic versant slopes of the northern high-lands of Guatemala from the Sierra de las Minas and ranges of Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz westward through the Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes to northwestern Hue-huetenango and the Lagos de Montebello region of eastern Chiapas, Mexico. This species inhabits riparian habitats along streams Rowing through Premontane and Lower Montane Wet Forests (cloud forests and humid pine-oak forest, respectively) at elevations between 1200 and 2000 m.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This frog is most commonly encountered sitting on rocks or in leaf litter along streams. When frightened, it usually will jump up the bank into the forest rather than toward the stream. Stuart (1948) reported finding this frog along mountain streams within cloud forest, but stated that it was absent in areas that had been cleared. Our experience supports Stuart's observations that populations of this frog rapidly diminish in areas that have been cleared. During field investigations in virgin cloud forest around the Biotopo Mario Dary in Baja Verapaz in the late 1970s, Craugastor brocchi was encountered practically every night that J. A. Campbell walked the streams. On the other hand, only a handful of specimens was seen during the surveys undertaken around Cáquipec in Alta Verapaz, a region that is largely devoid of primary cloud forest (Campbell and Savage 2000).

The duck-like quack of this frog may be heard anytime during the day or night, but seems to be most frequently heard in the late afternoon on overcast days. Females collected in late May were reported to contain large eggs (Stuart 1948).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities

Etymology- The specific epithet is a patronym honoring Paul Brocchi, French herpetologist and author of the amphibian section of the Mission Scientifique au Mexique et dan l'Amerique Central (1881-1883).


Campbell, J. A. and Savage, J. M. (2000). ''Taxonomic reconsideration of the Middle American frogs of the Eleutherodactulus rugulosus (Anura: Leptodactylidae): A reconnaissance of subtle nuances among frogs.'' Herpetologocal Monographs, 14, 186-292.

Stuard, L.C. (1948). ''The amphibians and reptiles of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.'' Miscellaneous Publications Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 69, 1-109.

Originally submitted by: Jonathan A. Campbell and Jay M. Savage (first posted 2000-10-09)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2007-11-30)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2007 Craugastor brocchi <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 11, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 11 Dec 2023.

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