Leptodactylus fragilis (Brocchi, 1877)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Leptodactylidae > Subfamily: Leptodactylinae > Genus: Leptodactylus > Species: Leptodactylus fragilis

Cystignathus fragilis Brocchi, 1877, Bull. Soc. Philomath., Paris, Ser. 7, 1: 182. Holotype: MNHNP 6316, according to Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 85, and Guibé, 1950 "1948", Cat. Types Amph. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat.: 30. Type locality: "Tehuantepec (Mexique)".

Leptodactylus fragilisBrocchi, 1881, Miss. Scient. Mex. Amer. Centr., Rech. Zool., 3(2, livr. 1): 19.

Leptodactylus (Leptodactylus) fragilisFouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 376. Attributed to Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 207, but on p. 208 of that publication these authors write "we place Adenomera Steindachner, 1867, as a synonym of Lithodytes  Fitzinger, 1843, and Lithodytes  as a subgenus of Leptodactylus , without delimiting any other subgenera so as not to construct or imply any paraphyletic groups". So, no subgenus Leptodactylus was rendered or intended. The Code of course in its principle of coordination requires coordinate subgenera for all member of the genus, but this would be a case where the Code requires paraphyly, something no competent systematist would ever accept. 

English Names

American White-lipped Frog (Dubois and Heyer, 1992, Copeia, 1992: 584).

White-jawed Frog (Ballinger and Lynch, 1983, How to Know Amph. Rept.: XXX).

White-jawed Robber Frog (Wright and Wright, 1938, Trans. Texas Acad. Sci., 21: XXX).

White-lipped Thin-toed Frog (Heyer, Heyer, and de Sá, 2006, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 830: 1).

Mexican White-lipped Frog (Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 60; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 11; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37:7; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 16; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 13).

White-lipped Frog (Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 302; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 11; Liner, 1994, Herpetol. Circ., 23: 25; Lee, 1996, Amph. Rept. Yucatan Peninsula: 68; Lee, 2000, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Maya World: 76;Albert, Hödl, Huber, Ringler, Weish, and Weissenhofer, 2005, Amph. Rept. Golfo Dulce Region Costa Rica: XXX; Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 15; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 8).

Cope's White-lipped Frog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 81).

White-lipped Foamfrog (Campbell, 1998, Amph. Rept. N. Guatemala Yucatan Belize: 61).

Middle American White-lipped Frog (Hedges, Powell, Henderson, Hanson, and Murphy, 2019, Caribb. Herpetol., 67: 14). 


Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas (USA) through eastern and southern Mexico (southeast from Colima) and Central America to western and northern Colombia (south to Cauca) and Venezuela (Sucre); introduced at two localities (8 km west of Guane and in the vicinity of Sandino, Pinar del Rio Province) in Cuba, as well as on San Andrés I., Colombia. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, United States of America, United States of America - Texas, Venezuela

Introduced: Colombia, Cuba


In the Leptodactylus fuscus group of Heyer, 1978, Sci. Bull. Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co., 29: 1–85. Heyer, 1978, Sci. Bull. Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co., 29: 31, suggested that Cystignathus labialis Cope, 1878 "1877", was a junior synonym of Leptodactylus mystacinus, and that Leptodactylus fragilis was the appropriate name for this species. This arrangement was rejected by Dubois and Heyer, 1992, Copeia, 1992: 584–585, but reestablished by Heyer, 2002, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 115: 321-322. Virtually all literature regarding this species uses the incorrect name Leptodactylus labialis, which is now a junior synonym of Leptodactylus mystacinus. See accounts (as Leptodactylus labialis) by Heyer, 1971, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 104: 1–3; Lee, 1996, Amph. Rept. Yucatan Peninsula: 68–71; Campbell, 1998, Amph. Rept. N. Guatemala Yucatan Belize: 61–62; Lee, 2000, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Maya World: 76–78; Savage, 2002, Amph. Rept. Costa Rica: 221–222; and McCranie and Wilson, 2002, Amph. Honduras: 440–446. Gorzula and Señaris, 1999 "1998", Scient. Guaianae, 8: 58, commented on distribution in Venezuela. Köhler, Veselý, and Greenbaum, 2005 "2006", Amph. Rept. El Salvador: 56–58, provided an account (for El Salvador) and a color photograph. McCranie, 2007, Herpetol. Rev., 38: 38, summarized the departmental distribution in Honduras. Heyer, Heyer, and de Sá, 2006, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 830: 1–2, provided a review. Méndez-Narváez, Ospina-Sarria, and Bolívar-García, 2009, Check List, 5: 460–462, provided new records and discussed range in Colombia. See comments by Sunyer, Páiz, Dehling, and Köhler, 2009, Herpetol. Notes, 2: 189–202, regarding Nicaraguan populations. Mata-Silva, Ramírez-Bautista, and Johnson, 2010, Herpetol. Rev., 41: 104, provided a record for eastern Oaxaca, Mexico, and commented on the range. Lemos-Espinal and Dixon, 2013, Amphibians and Reptiles of San Luis Potosí: 62–63, provided an account for San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 1: 436–438, provided an account that summarized the relevant literature for the USA population. Köhler, 2011, Amph. Cent. Am.: 276–281, provided a brief summary of natural history and identification key for the species of Leptodactylus in Central America and provided a range map and photograph for this species. In the Leptodactylus fuscus species group of de Sá, Grant, Camargo, Heyer, Ponssa, and Stanley, 2014, S. Am. J. Herpetol., 9(Spec. Issue 1): 1–123, who provided a summary of the relevant literature (adult and larval morphology, identification, advertisement call, and range) of this species on pp. 30–31. Sunyer, Martínez-Fonseca, Salazar-Saavedra, Galindo-Uribe, and Obando, 2014, Mesoam. Herpetol., 1: 172, provided a record for the department of Atlántico Sur, Nicaragua. Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 298–299, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 216–217, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. Rodríguez-Cabrera, García-Padrón, Acosta-Galvis, de Sá, and Bosch, 2018, J. Nat. Hist., London, 52: 1883–1892, reported on introductions into Cuba and discussed the possibility of this becoming invasive in that country. Lemos-Espinal and Dixon, 2016, Amph. Rept. Hidalgo: 385–386, provided a brief account and map for Hidalgo, Mexico. See Barrio-Amorós, Rojas-Runjaic, and Señaris, 2019, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 13 (1: e180): 91, for comments on range in Venezuela and literature. Cubillos-Abrahams and Montes-Correa, 2021, Anartia, Zulia, 32: 61–66, reported on an introduced population on San Andrés I., Colombia. Bassett, 2023, Reptiles & Amphibians, 30(e18486): 1–18, provided an updated county distribution map for Texas, USA. 

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