IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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The genus Physalaemus is diagnosed by the following character combination: (1) tubercles absent on dorsum; (2) vomerine teeth absent; (3) hypertrophied antebraquial tubercles absent; (4) parotoid glands absent; (5) flank glands absent; (6) tympanic membrane not visible; (7) skull-mandible articulation never occurring anterior to the transversal plane of the junction between the alae and the cultriform process of the parasphenoid; (8) anterior margin of exoccipitals overlapped by frontoparietals; (9) quadratojugals and developed maxillary process of quadratojugals present; (10) eggs laid within foam nests (Nascimento et al. 2005).

P. ephippifer is a stockier member of the cuvieri species group. The cuvieri group can be described by the following character combination: size small to moderate (21.0- 39.6 mm SVL); head as long as wide; dorsum lacking tubercles; snout rounded or sub-elliptical when viewed from above, rounded and protruding when viewed in profile; canthus rostralis is rounded and the loreal region is concave; presence of tarsal fold, except in P. fischeri (though Lynch 1970 compared the group members and did not find a tarsal fold for any species other than P. pustulatus); presence of tarsal tubercle; external and internal metatarsal tubercles conical, lacking keratinized margins and having the same base length; fringe absent on fingers but may or may not be present on toes;; toes lacking webbing; vocal sac well developed; inguinal glands present or absent, but small if present and never associated with a dark ocellus; glandular ridge absent; broad glandular area on flanks absent; sacral gland present or absent, and variable within a species; skull slightly wider than long; skull-mandible articulation on same transversal plane of intersection between the alae and cultriform process of the parasphenoid; distance between nasals is narrow, except for P. cicada; nasals overlap the anterior margin of the sphenethmoid; parietal portion of the frontoparietal is enlarged; fontanelle on frontoparietal is not exposed; angle between ventral ramus of squamosal and maxilla varies between 42° to 66°; vomerine dentigerous process is broad and well-developed; well-developed neopalatines present; anterior ramus of pterygoid contacts neopalatine; parasphenoid cultriform process is medium-sized and spike-shaped; both premaxillary and maxillary teeth are present; anterior hyale processes are present; constriction at the base of alary processes of the hyoid plate; and hyoid has a slightly broad to broad alary process (Nascimento et al. 2005).

Diagnosis - A small Physalaemus (males 26- 28 mm) of the cuvieri group; dorsum brown with darker spots; flanks dark brown from !oreal to inguinal regions; transversal dark brown bars on the upper surface of limbs; venter cream with brown reticulations in the pectoral and gular regions (Martins 1998).

Lynch (1970) also noted the following characteristics for P. ephippifer: first finger not longer than second; body glands (parotoid, flank, inguinal) are absent, and males have large subgular vocal sacs and nuptial pads.

P. ephippifer has a diploid chromosome number of 2n=22, with pairs 3. 4, and 7 being submetacentric, and the rest being metacentric. This species also has heteromorphic sex chromosomes (a female-specific W chromosome and a male-specific Z chromosome, pair 8) (Nascimento et al. 2010; Conte et al. 2011).

First described by Steindachner (1864).


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