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Isthmohyla calypsa Lips 1996

Critically Endangered (IUCN 3.1)
Isthmohyla calypsa
Isthmohyla calypsa frog



Species description based on Lips (1996) and Savage (2002). A small treefrog (males to 36 mm, females to 41 mm). Females generally appear spinier than males.


The dorsal surface is metallic green mottled with darker drab green or brown blotches. The dorsum is covered in large spinous bumps.


The ventral surface is white with some scattered black blotches or smaller spots.

Concealed surfaces

The groin and front and rear surfaces of the thighs are bright white with scattered black spots.


The eye is cream-colored, darkening to brown around the outer edges.

Life history

Breeding season

Breeding occurs from April to November (Lips 1996). Females may breed more than once in a single one reproductive season (up to three times, Lips 1996).


Clutches of 10-36 eggs are laid on leaves overhanging streams (Lips 1996). The eggs are yellow upon oviposition but turn darker as they age (Lips 1996). Embryos hatch in 23-56 days (Lips 1996).


The tadpole body is oval-shaped with a rather long tail and shallow tail fins (Lips 1996, Savage 2002). The coloration is brownish-orange (Lips 1996, Savage 2002). The tail has large grey patches that turn smaller and darker towards the tip (Lips 1996, Savage 2002). Tadpoles have a disc-shaped mouth that allows them to cling to rocks in streams (Lips 1996).

Ecology behavior and evolution


Lips (2001) characterized temporal variation in reproductive activity and the causes of egg-stage mortality in this species. Drosophilid fly infestation was a significant source of egg death, particularly late in the breeding season (Lips 2001).


A short, single note (Lips 1996).

Behavior and communication

Males guard territories along stream margins (Lips 1996).

Taxonomy and systematics


  • Kingdom:Animalia
    • Phylum:Chordata


Lips 1996


Hyla calypsa

Type locality

Finca Jaguar (1900 m), approximately 18 km NNE La Lucha, Coto Brus, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, 8° 55′ N, 82° 44′ W

Habitat and distribution


Lower montane forest from 1810 to 1920 m.


Panama Extinct in: Costa Rica


Isthmohyla calypsa distribution
Distrubution map (IUCN)


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

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.

Ibáñez, R, F Solís, C Jaramillo, and AS Rand. 2000. An overwiew of the herpetology of Panama. In: Johnson, JD, RG Webb, and OA Flores-Villela. Eds. Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

Lips, K and JM Savage. 1996. Key to the Known Tadpoles (Amphibia: Anura) of Costa Rica. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 31(1): 17-26

Lips, KR, DE Green, and R Papendick. 2003. Chytridiomycosis in wild frogs from southern Costa Rica. Journal of Herpetology 37(1): 215-218.

Lips, KR, JD Reeve, and LR Witters. 2003. Ecological traits predicting amphibian population declines in Central America. Conservation Biology 17(4): 1078-1088.

Lips, KR. 1996. New treefrog from the Cordillera de Talamanca of Central America with a discussion of systematic relationships in the Hyla lancasteri group. Copeia 1996: 615-626.

Lips, KR. 1996. The population biology of Hyla calypsa, a stream-breeding treefrog from lower Central America. PhD dissertation, University of Miami.

Lips, KR. 1998. Decline of a tropical montane amphibian fauna. Conservation Biology 12(1): 106-117.

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

Lips, KR. 2001. Reproductive trade-offs and bet-hedging in Hyla calypsa, a Neotropical treefrog. Oecologia 128(4): 509-518.

Savage, JM. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna between two Continents, between two Seas. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Additional resources