Carvalho's tree toad (Dendrophryniscus carvalhoi)

Carvalho's tree toad
Loading more images and videos...

Carvalho's tree toad fact file

Carvalho's tree toad description

GenusDendrophryniscus (1)

Carvalho's tree toad (Dendrophryniscus carvalhoi) is a small, cryptically coloured amphibian endemic to the Atlantic forest of Brazil. It is named in memory of Professor Antenor Leitão de Carvalho, a respected herpetologist and ichthyologist of the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro (2).

Carvalho’s tree toad has a triangular-shaped head, with a ridge which runs from the above the eye to the tip of the snout. The back is covered in large, grainy bumps and an ‘X’-shaped spot pattern. The fore legs of Carvalho’s tree toad are slender, with enlarged tips to the fingers (2), although the more robust first finger is somewhat reduced on the male, and is covered in a thickened, hardened pad called a ‘nuptial pad’, which is used to clasp the female during breeding (3). The hind limbs are also slender, with comparatively small toes which are slight webbed (2).   

Length: 14 - 19 mm (2)

Carvalho's tree toad biology

Very little is known about the biology of Carvalho’s tree toad. The genus Dendrophryniscus contains eight species which are split into two groups based on their reproductive behaviour: the first group breeds in ponds, while the second lays its eggs in bromeliads (a family of flowering plants that are mainly native to the tropical Americas), in which the tadpoles then develop (2) (3). Carvalho’s tree toad is thought to belong to the latter group (1) (2) (3) (4).


Carvalho's tree toad range

Carvalho’s tree toad is a rare amphibian which is only known from Santa Tereza and Fundao, in the Espírito Santo area of the Atlantic forest in Brazil (1) (4) (5).


Carvalho's tree toad habitat

Carvalho’s tree toad lives among leaf litter in primary and secondary Atlantic forest, at elevations of around 800 metres (1) (4).


Carvalho's tree toad status

Carvalho’s tree toad is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Carvalho's tree toad threats

Carvalho’s tree toad, like many other amphibians in the Atlantic forest, is under threat from habitat loss because of deforestation, conversion to agricultural land, livestock grazing and human settlement (1) (4) (6). The Fundao population of Carvalho’s tree toad in particular is threatened by expanding coffee cultivation in this area (4).

The chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is also an important cause of amphibian declines elsewhere in the world, and although it has yet to be documented in Brazil, it is likely to pose a severe threat in future if it continues to spread (6).


Carvalho's tree toad conservation

Carvalho’s tree toad is found in protected areas in the Caparao National Park and the Santa Teresa Biological Reserve (7). It may also occur in the Estacion Biólogica Santa Lucia, and Reserva Biólogica Augusto Ruschi, but this is not confirmed (1) (4).

Population declines of amphibians in Brazil are poorly documented and understood, largely because of a lack of knowledge about the biology and ecology, an incomplete knowledge of the threats facing these species, and a lack of population monitoring. All amphibian species found in the Atlantic forest, including Carvalho’s tree toad, would benefit from increased research (6).


Find out more

To find out more about the conservation of the worlds amphibians, see:

To read more about the worlds threatened amphibians, see:

  • Stuart, S.N., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A., Berridge, R.J., Ramani, P., and Young, B.E. (Eds.) (2008) Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain; IUCN, Gland, Switzerland; and Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

To discover more about the Atlantic forest, see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



Atlantic Forest
A highly biodiverse region found along the east coast of South America, comprising several different vegetation types, including high-altitude grassland, and lowland and montane forest. The coastal Atlantic forest is a narrow strip of about 50 to 100 kilometres along the coast, which covers about 20 percent of the Atlantic Forest region.
Cryptic colouration
Colouration that makes animals difficult to detect against their background. The colouration may provide camouflage against a background or break up the outline of the body. Both can occur in a single animal, and tend to reduce predation.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.


  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2010)
  2. Izecksohn, E. (1993) Three new species of Dendrophryniscus Jiménez de la Espada from southeast and south regions of Brazil (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 10(3): 473-488.
  3. Cruz, C.A.G. and Fusinatto, L.A. (2008) A new species of Dendrophryniscus, Jiménez de la Espada, 1871 (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae) from the Atlantic rain forest of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. South American Journal of Herpetology, 3(1): 22-26.
  4. Stuart, S.N., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A., Berridge, R.J., Ramani, P., and Young, B.E. (Eds.) (2008) Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain; IUCN, Gland, Switzerland; and Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA.
  5. Frost, D.R. (2010) Amphibian Species of the World: An Online Reference. American Museum of Natural History, New York. Available at:
  6. Silvano, D.L. and Segalla, M.V. (2005) Conservation of Brazilian Amphibians. Conservation Biology, 19(3):653-658.
  7. Amphibian Ark. (2009) Assessment outputs: No conservation action required – Brazil. Amphibian Ark Conservation Action Planning Workshop, Brazil. Available at:

Image credit

Carvalho's tree toad  
Carvalho's tree toad

© Abel Pérez González

Abel Pérez González
Núcleo em Ecologia e Desenvolvimento Sócio-Ambiental (NUPEM)
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
Rua Rotary Club, s/n. - Bairro São José do Barreto, Macaé, RJ CEP.27910-970
Tel: +55 (22) 2759-3431 /2759-3420 - ext.246


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Carvalho's tree toad (Dendrophryniscus carvalhoi) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in the Atlantic forest eco-region

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top