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Agalychnis lemur Boulenger 1882

Critically Endangered (IUCN 3.1)
Agalychnis lemur
Hylomantis lemur (Lemur leaf frog)

Common name

Lemur Leaf Frog, Lemur Frog


Agalychnis lemur populations have declined severely in recent years, due at least in part to the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Smith et al 2009). For example, A. lemur was regularly seen in Santa Fe, Panama, until chytrid fungus was detected in 2002 (Brem and Lips 2008). This species has experienced decline in other localities in Panama, including the Fortuna reserve (Chiriqui province, Lips 1999), and Altos de Campana National Park (Cocle province, Woodhams et al 2008).



Species description based on Duellman (2001) and Savage and Heyer (1967) and Savage (2002). A small slender treefrog with long arms and shorter legs. Males and females similarly sized. Males to 40.8 mm, females to 50.6 mm.

Agalychnis lemur Adult 1


The dorsal skin is smooth. Color ranges from bright yellow-green during the day to red-brown at night. Small, enamel-like white spots are rarely, if ever, present. However, many individuals have dark flecks on the dorsal surface.

Agalychnis lemur Dorsal 1


The venter is white and granular. Throat color ranges from white to cream.

Agalychnis lemur Ventral 1

Concealed surfaces

The flank area is uniform bright yellow or orange, without contrasting bars or patterning.


Iris silver, purplish grey, or pale gold, surrounded by a smoky black ring. Pupil vertical. Lower eyelid not reticulate, as in some other species of Agalychnis.

Agalychnis lemur Eye 1


Hands and feet lack webbing. Hands and feet are yellowish in color with terminal discs.

Life history

Breeding season

Breeding occurs from April through July (Duellman 1970). Males call from branches above shallow ponds and seeps (Duellman 1970).


Eggs are deposited in clutches (15-30) on the surfaces of leaves overhanging water (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994, Schulte 1977, Van Eijsden 1977)). The embryos are light green in color and hatch in 7-14 days (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994).


Tadpole is almost uniform light brown with some darker brown flecks (Duellman 1970). Tail fin is relatively transparent with some darker brown flecks (Duellman 1970). The mouth is bordered by 2 upper and 3 lower rows of labial papillae (Duellman 1970). Refer to Duellman (1970), for a more extensive description and drawings of the tadpole. Tadpoles develop in water, metamorphosing in 69-98 days (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994). They are suspension feeders but also rasp food from surfaces such as the bottom of ponds (Savage 2002).

Metamorph juvenile

Metamorphs look similar to the adult, with distinctive eye coloration (black ring) developing almost immediately (Hughey pers. obs.). However, the yellowish flank coloration develops later (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994).

Ecology behavior and evolution


Agalychnis lemur is sometimes infected by a lung parasite (Goldberg and Bursey 2008). Fungus was not successfully inoculated onto the eggs of A. lemur by Villa (1979).


The call is a single, short "tlack" (Duellman 1970) or "tick" (Savage 2002). This species also produces encounter calls (male-male interactions) and a release call (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994).

Behavior and communication

Upon becoming active in the evening, individuals molt and consume the shed skin (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994). Males engage in aggressive interactions with other males, grappling opponents and attempting to dislodge them from their branch (Jungfer and Weygoldt 1994).


Peptides isolated from the skin of adult frogs have antibacterial and antifungal properties (Conlon et al 2007). Manzano et al (2007) described the intercalary elements present on the digits of A. lemur and compared it to other species.

Taxonomy and systematics


  • Kingdom:Animalia


Boulenger 1882


Hylomantis lemur, Phyllomedusa lemur


Latin. Lemur refers to the way this species walks, which is similar to that of the mammalian lemurs.

Type locality

"Costa Rica"


Faivovich et al (2009) found that frogs in the genus Hylomantis are paraphyletic and revived the synonymy of Agalychnis to remedy this problem.

Habitat and distribution


Humid, low-mid elevation (650-1600 m) forests having consistent rainfall throughout the year (Duellman 1970).


Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama


Agalychnis lemur distribution
Distrubution map (IUCN)


Abdel-Wahab, YHA, GJ Power, PR Flatt, DC Woodhams, LA Rollins-Smith, and JM Conlon. 2008. A peptide of the phylloseptin family from the skin of the frog Hylomantis lemur (Phyllomedusinae) with potent in vitro and in vivo insulin-releasing activity. Peptides 29(12): 2136-2143.

Amiche, M, A Ladram, and P Nicolas. 2008. A consistent nomenclature of antimicrobial peptides isolated from frogs of the subfamily Phyllomedusinae. Peptides 29(11): 2074-2082.

Brem, FMR and KR Lips. 2008. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection patterns among Panamanian amphibian species, habitats and elevations during epizootic and enzootic stages. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 81: 189–202.

Cannatella, DC. 1980. A review of the Phyllomedusa buckleyi group (Anura: Hylidae). Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 87: 1–40.

Conlon, JM , DC Woodhams, H Raza, LCJ Leprince, T Jouenne, H Vaudry, and LA Rollins-Smith. 2007. Peptides with differential cytolytic activity from skin secretions of the lemur leaf frog Hylomantis lemur (Hylidae: Phyllomedusinae).Toxicon 50(40): 498-506.

Duellman, WE. 1968. The genera of phyllomedusine frogs (Anura: Hylidae). University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 18: 1–10.

Duellman, WE. 1970. The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Monographs of the Museum of Natural History University of Kansas.

Duellman, WE. 2001. The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. 2nd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.

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Faivovich, J, CFB Haddad, PCO Garcia, DR Frost, JA Campbell, and WC Wheeler. 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: 1-240.

Fisher, MC, TWJ Garner, and SF Walker. 2009. Global emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and amphibian chytridiomycosis in space, time, and host. Annual Review of Microbiology 63: 291-310.

Funkhouser, AB. 1957. A review of the Neotropical tree frogs of the genus Phyllomedusa. Occasional Papers of the Natural History Museum of Stanford University 5: 1–90.

Goldberg, J and M Fabrezi. 2008. Development and variation of the anuran webbed feet (Amphibia, Anura). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 152(1): 39-58.

Goldberg, SR and CR Bursey. 2008. Helminths from fifteen species of frogs (Anura, Hylidae) from Costa Rica. Phyllomedusa 7(1): 25-33.

Gomez-Mestre, I , JJ Wiens and KM Warkentin. 2008. Evolution of adaptive plasticity: risk-sensitive hatching in neotropical treefrogs. Ecological Monographs 78(2): 205-224.

Ibáñez, R., Solís, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. In: Johnson, J.D., Webb, R.G. and Flores-Villela, O.A. (eds), Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation, pp. 159-170. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

Jungfer, KH and P Weygoldt. 1994. The reproductive biology of the leaf frog Phyllomedusa lemur Boulenger, 1882, and a comparison with other members of the Phyllomedusinae (Anura: Hylidae). Revue française d'aquariologie 21(1-2): 57-64.

Kubicki, B and T Facio-Fernández. 2004. Ranas de hoja de Costa Rica. Leaf-frogs of Costa Rica. Editorial Santo Domingo de Heredia, Editorial INBio, CR.

León-Azofeifa, PE. 1970. Report of the chromosome numbers of some Costa Rican anurans. Informe del número de cromosomas de algunos anuros costarricenses. Revista de Biología Tropical 17(1): 119-124.

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Lips, KR. 1999. Mass mortality and population declines of anurans at an upland site in western Panama. Conservation Biology 13(1): 117-125.

Manzano, AS, M Fabrezi, and M Vences. 2007. Intercalary elements, treefrogs, and the early differentiation of a complex system in the Neobatrachia. The Anatomical Record 290:1551–1567.

Myers, C.W. and Duellman, W.E. 1982. A new species of Hyla from Cerro Colorado, and other tree frog records and geographical notes from western Panama. American Museum Novitates: 1-32.

Pounds, JA, MPL Fogden, JM Savage, and GC Gorman. 1997. Tests of null models for amphibian declines on a tropical mountain. Conservation Biology 11(6): 1307-1322.

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Schulte, R. 1977. Mit Geisterbeck schleict er durchs Geast: Der Lemurfrosch (Phyllomedusa lemur). Aquar. Mag. 11(3): 98-103.

Smith, KG, KR Lips, and JM Chase. 2009.Selecting for extinction: nonrandom disease- associated extinction homogenizes amphibian biotas. Ecology Letters 12: 1069–1078.

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