AmphibiaWeb - Pristimantis leopardus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Pristimantis leopardus Rivera-Correa, Jiménez-Rivillas & Daza-R., 2017
family: Strabomantidae
genus: Pristimantis
Species Description: Rivera-Correa M, Jimenez-Rivillas C, Daza JM 2017 Phylogenetic analysis of the neotropical Pristimantis leptolophus species group (Anura: Craugastoridae): molecular approach and description of a new polymorphic species. Zootaxa 4242: 313-343.
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Prismantis leopardus is a small frog described from 30 males and one female. The males had a snout-vent length range of 16.0 - 19.9 mm and the female had a snout-vent length of 22.8 mm. The head is slightly wider than longer with a snout that is rounded from a dorsal view and truncated in a lateral view. The area between the nostrils is slightly concave and the nostrils are closer to the snout than the eye. The eyes are located anterolaterally with the eye to nostril distance being the same as the eye diameter. The upper eyelids contain small tubercles and the tympanum diameter is 40% of the eye diameter. The skin texture is rough, especially in the dorsal markings, but the granular surface lacks tubercles, warts, and dorsolateral folds. Their forearms and hind limbs are slender. There are tubercles present at the base of all the phalanges, but the digits lacks nuptial pads and lateral fringes. The ovoid finger disc of Finger 1 is only slightly expanded while Fingers 2 - 4 are much more expanded. The length of Toe 5 extends midway between the penultimate and distal subarticular tubercle of Toe 4, while the tip of Toe 3 reaches the border of the tubercle in Toe 4 (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

At the time of the species description, there were eight members of the Pristimantis leptolophus species group of which Prismatis leopardus is part of along with P. leptolophus, P. maculosus, P. parectatus, P. peraticus, P. scoloblepharus, P. stictus, and P. uranobates. Prismatis leopardus can be differentiated from some other species because of its lack of dorsolateral folds, warts on the body, and tubercles on eyelids and heels, except for P. peraticus. Prismatis leopardus can also be differentiated from other species by its coloration, with P. leopardus having a golden to copper body color and notable markings. Similar species lack patterns or defined markings (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

In life, P. leopardus has a golden to copper colored dorsal and ventral surface that often has dark brown spots or markings. The belly of most individuals can vary from gray to brown with some darker blotches. Their brown markings are unique, making individuals easier to identify. Since the species is highly polymorphic, the patterns and markings can vary considerably with some not always having clear patterns or large spots. Some of the markings on the gold and copper areas can shine an iridescent green. In ethanol, the markings become black with the rest of the body taking on a brown to gray mixture (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

Most of the variation within the species comes from the differences in patterning. Some have much darker spots, blotches, markings, or patterns while others can have barely visible ones (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Pristimantis leopardus is known from Páramo de Sonsón in the northwestern Andes of Colombia. The species prefers dense vegetation 0.5 - 1 m above the ground in mountainous tropical areas and in páramos, or high-elevation grassland ecosystems, only found in some parts of South America, at elevation ranges from around 6500 to nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. The air temperature of this region spans from 51 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity from 89 percent to 97 percent (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Pristimantis leopardus is a fully terrestrial species. This frog can be found in small water cavities in terrestrial plants, such as Bromelia sp. and Paepalanthus sp. Since this particular species is known from one general location, it likely exhibits non-migratory behavior (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

Naturally nocturnal, the peak activity is between the hours of 7 pm to midnight for this group of frogs (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).

Pristimantis sp. lay eggs in the absence of water and embryos undergo direct development, completing all development within the egg to hatch as froglets (Amezquita et al. 2019).

Trends and Threats
The current population is stable, but also very fragmented and there is evidence of continuing decline in maturing individuals. The main threats to P. leopardus include climate change, severe weather, and habitat shifting or alterations. As global warming continues to progress in our future, the variation in temperature and humidity are likely to cause changes in the habitat where this species resides. Agriculture is not expected to spread to the high elevations this species is found in and the locality the species is found in is protected from mining and logging (IUCN 2019).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.

A 2017, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses on 10 genomic regions, indicated that P. leopardus was most closely related to P. uranobates. Together their next most closely related species was P. lasalleorum (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017). A 2022 Maximum Likelihood analysis of four genomic regions largely supported these findings but found that P. leopardus is most closely related to a clade composed of P. scoloblepharus and P. uranobates. The species’ relationship with P. lasalleorum is supported in both studies (Rivera-Correa et al. 2020).

The species epithet, “leopardus,” is a Latin noun, referring to the patterns of spots and stripes on the dorsal surface. These patterns also resemble the American felid genus, Leopardus (Rivera-Correa et al. 2017).


Amezquita, A., Suarez, G., Palacios-Rodriguez, P., Beltrán, I., Rodríguez, C., Barrientos, L.S., Daza, J.M., Mazariegos, L. (2019) “A new species of Pristimantis (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the cloud forests of Colombian western Andes” Zootaxa, 4648 (3): 537–548 [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2019). "Pristimantis leopardus." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T114139483A114139487.

Rivera-Correa M., Daza, J.M. (2020) “Out of the blue: A new rain frog species of the genus Pristimantis (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the northern Cordillera Central in Colombia” Zootaxa 4838 (1): 083–101 [link]

Rivera-Correa, M., Jimenez-Rivillas, C., Daza, J. (2017) “Phylogenetic analysis of the Neotropical Prismantis leptolophus species group (Anura: Craugastoridae): molecular approach and description of a new polymorphic species” Zootaxa, 4242 (2): 313-343 [link]

Originally submitted by: Lauren Neth, Roham Azargoshasbi, Cameron Dillon (2022-07-12)
Description by: Lauren Neth, Roham Azargoshasbi, Cameron Dillon (updated 2022-07-12)
Distribution by: Lauren Neth, Roham Azargoshasbi, Cameron Dillon (updated 2022-07-12)
Life history by: Lauren Neth, Roham Azargoshasbi, Cameron Dillon (updated 2022-07-12)
Trends and threats by: Lauren Neth, Roham Azargoshasbi, Cameron Dillon (updated 2022-07-12)
Comments by: Lauren Neth, Roham Azargoshasbi, Cameron Dillon (updated 2022-07-12)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2022-07-12)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Pristimantis leopardus <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 25, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Feb 2024.

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