Pachymedusa dacnicolor
Pachymedusa dacnicolor
(Mexican Leaf Frog)
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Pachymedusa dacnicolor (Cope, 1864)

Common name: Mexican Leaf Frog

Synonyms and Other Names: ranita verduzca

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Pachymedusa dacnicolor is a large hylid (treefrog) with a SVL (snout-vent length) often exceeding 103 mm (over 4 in) (Zimmermann, 1986).  Mexican leaf frogs are green dorsally, with occasional white spots, and a white venter; they sometimes have orange highlights on the legs and digits (Breen, 1974; Anonymous, 2000; additional illustrations by Wiewandt, 1971; Rubio, 1998).  Enlarged toepads (disks) are present for climbing (Breen, 1974).  The aquatic tadpoles of P. dacnicolor are illustrated by Wiewandt (1971).  The call of the male is a quick, two-note chirp that sounds like somebody stepping on a balloon.  An audio CD recording of this species call is available by Bogert (1998).

Size: snout-vent length often exceeding 103 mm

Native Range: Pachymedusa dacnicolor is indigenous to the Pacific lowlands of Mexico from southern Sonora to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Smith and Smith, 1973, 1976, 1993; Frost, 1985; Flores-Villela, 1993; Campbell, 1999).

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Nonindigenous Occurrences: In 1964 an animal dealer released ten P. dacnicolor at the Hialeah (Red Road) Canal, in Hialeah, Dade County, Florida (King and Krakauer, 1966; Smith and Kohler, 1978).

Means of Introduction: Intentional release by an animal dealer (King and Krakauer, 1966).

Status: There is no evidence of an established population since their original release (King and Krakauer, 1966).

Impact of Introduction: None.  It is unclear if this insectivore could have an impact in this largely urbanized region of Florida.

Remarks: The taxonomy of P. dacnicolor has been summarized by Frost (1985), and vernacular names provided by Liner (1994).  Pachymedusa dacnicolor is principally a tropical forest species that sometimes inhabits agricultural areas (Wiewandt, 1971; Zimmermann, 1986).  Although Mexican leaf frogs are often kept as pets (Breen, 1974; Zimmermann, 1986; Slavens and Slavens, 2000), little is known of their natural history aside from the observations made by Wiewandt (1971) in Sonora, Mexico.  These nocturnal, arboreal frogs spend the day sheltered in rodent burrows, or beneath logs and other ground cover (Wiewandt, 1971).  Breeding in P. dacnicolor is stimulated by summer rains following the dry season (Wiewandt, 1971).  The eggs of this frog are oviposited in a gelatinous nest in leaves hanging above water; hatching tadpoles drop into the water below to feed and continue development (Wiewandt, 1971; Zimmermann, 1986).

References: (click for full references)

Anonymous. 2000. Giant Mexican leaf frog (Pachymedusa dacnicolor) [online]. Available on URL: Sandfire Dragon Ranch, Bonsall, California.

Bogert, C. M. 1998. Sounds of North American Frogs. The Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, D.C. Audio CD Recording.

Breen, J. F. 1974. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey. 576 pp.

Campbell, J. A. 1999. Distribution patterns of amphibians in Middle America. Pp. 111-210. In: W. E. Duellman (editor). Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians. A Global Perspective. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 633 pp.

Flores-Villela, O. 1993. Herpetofauna Mexicana. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Special Publication (17):i-iv, 1-73.

Frost, D. R. (editor). 1985. Amphibian Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference. Allen Press, Inc. and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. 732 pp.

King, [F.] W., and T. Krakauer. 1966. The exotic herpetofauna of southeast Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 29(2):144-154.

Liner, E. A. 1994. Scientific and common names for the amphibians and reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. Nombres científicos y comunes en Ingles y Españole de los anfibios y los reptiles de México. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular (23):i-vi, 1-113.

Rubio, M. 1998. Into the land of the escorpión. Fauna (Provo, Utah) 1(3):6-18.

Slavens, F. L., and K. Slavens. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity. Breeding – Longevity and Inventory Current January 1, 1999. Slaveware, Seattle. 400 pp.

Smith, H. M., and A. J. Kohler. 1978. A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 1977 80(1-2):1-24.

Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1973. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Volume II. Analysis of the Literature Exclusive of the Mexican Axolotl. John Johnson Natural History Books, North Bennington, Vermont. 367 pp.

Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1976. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Volume IV. Source Analysis and Index for Mexican Amphibians. John Johnson, North Bennington, Vermont. 15 pp. + A-G.

Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1993. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Volume VII. Bibliographic Addendum IV and Index, Bibliographic Addenda II-IV, 1979-1991. University Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 1082 pp.

Wiewandt, T. A. 1971. Breeding biology of the Mexican leaf frog. Fauna (Rancho Mirage, California) 2:29-34.  (Reprinted by Biopark [online], Available on URL: International Biopark Foundation, Inc., Tucson.)

Zimmermann, E. 1986. Breeding Terrarium Animals. English-language Edition. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey. 384 pp.

Author: Somma, L.A.

Revision Date: 7/31/2002

Citation Information:
Somma, L.A., 2018, Pachymedusa dacnicolor (Cope, 1864): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 7/31/2002, Access Date: 2/22/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/22/2018].

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