Lemur Leaf Frog

(Hylomantis lemur)




Facts about this animal

The nocturnal H. lemur is easily distinguished from all other Costa Rican phyllomedusines by lacking inter-digital webbing on the hands and feet. The snout-vent length is 30-45 mm. Wild specimens of this species are typically very thin and frail, with the arms and legs lacking much muscular structure. This species presents a light, lime-green to lemon yellow, dorsal coloration during resting periods (sometimes having small dark reddish flecks scattered throughout the dorsum). The typical dorsal coloration of an active H. lemur however is slightly darker green with numerous dark red flecks or spots scattered throughout. Some specimens present even a uniform red dorsal coloration during activity.


H. lemur has very large bulging eyes in comparison to its thin frail body. The silvery white iris is surrounded by a black ring. Its movements are slow, hand over hand climbing with a few jumps.


It reproduces near pools of seepages or slow moving streams in humid forests. The males call from the upper surfaces of small plants and shrubs near or overhanging reproductive sites. The eggs are deposited on the surface of a leaf overhanging water. H. lemur does not roll the leaf-blade around the egg mass, as other Phyllomedusa species. The larvae are washed off or fall into water below the site of oviposition.

Did you know?
This species was previously within the genus Phyllomedusa but has recently been moved to the genus Hylomantis (Faivovich et al. 2005).


Name (Scientific) Hylomantis lemur
Name (English) Lemur Leaf Frog
Name (German) Lemurenfrosch
Name (Spanish) Rana arborícola
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Thomas Ziegler



Range Colombia; Costa Rica; Panama
Habitat It is found in sloping areas in humid lowland and montane primary forest, which receive rainfall throughout most of the year, from 440 up to 1600 m.
Wild population Hylomantis lemur occurs predominantly on the Atlantic versant. It was once considered fairly common at many mid-elevation areas (roughly 800-1500 m) in Costa Rica. In the last 20 years the populations at these locations have disappeared, in particular at higher altitudes, perhaps due to chytridiomycosis. The species is now categorized as endangered because of these drastic population declines. A further threat comes from illegal squatter activity in the area. The squatters are cutting the forest and this will inevitably cause microhabitat drying due to increased solar radiation and wind. It is very probable that within only a few more years the last naturally known large breeding population of H. lemur in Costa Rica may disappear. The lemur leaf frog is currently subject to both 'in situ' and 'ex-situ' conservation work at both the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre in Guayacan, Costa Rica (CRARC) and The Manchester Museum respectively. The population trend is decreasing (Red List IUCN 2012)
Zoo population 157 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Lemur Leaf Frog


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Thomas Ziegler

Why do zoos keep this animal

Neotropical frogs are threatened by habitat distruction, disease and other factors. Zoos and aquariums keeping these species want to build up reserve populations and to raise awareness of the global amphibian crisis. Several zoos have also linked their ex situ activities with involvement in in situ conservation.