Lithobates vibicarius 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Ranidae

Scientific Name: Lithobates vibicarius
Species Authority: (Cope, 1894)
Common Name(s):
English Rancho Redondo Frog, Green-eyed Frog
Levirana vibicaria Cope, 1894
Lithobates vibicaria (Cope, 1894) [orth. error]
Rana godmani Günther, 1900
Rana vibicaria (Cope, 1894)
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-03-14
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Rojas C, A., Jaramillo, C., Bolaños, F., Solís, F., Pounds, J., Savage, J., Castro Morales, O., Fuenmayor, Q., Puschendorf, R. & Ibáñez, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Angulo, A. & Young, B.E.
Listed as Vulnerable because extensive surveys for this species have turned up only three subpopulations with relative abundance of all life stages estimated to be in the hundreds; while there are currently no more precise estimates, at this time it is thought that the combined number of mature individuals may not surpass 1,000 individuals.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was previously widely distributed in the Cordillera de Tilarán, Cordillera Central, and Cordillera de Talamanca of Costa Rica and western Panama, at elevations of 1,500-2,700 m asl (Savage 2002). It is now known with certainty from (1) near Monteverde, (2) sites within the Cordillera Central (Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco and Cerro Chompipe), and Chumacera, Pérez Zeledón, in Costa Rica (Castro-Cruz and García-Fernandez 2012; G. Chaves unpubl. data March 2013). There are no recent reports from Panama, despite efforts to relocate it (Hertz et al. 2012).

Countries occurrence:
Costa Rica
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):1500
Upper elevation limit (metres):2700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It was once very common in Costa Rica but had apparently disappeared from the country by 1990. However, a single individual was reported in 2002 from near Monteverde, and larvae were found and reared in 2003. One small breeding pool is now known near Monteverde in the Monteverde Conservation League Children's Eternal Rainforest (Andrew Gray and Mark Wainwright in litt. to Bruce Young September 2007). This population was reported to be healthy, with several hundred animals, including dozens of breeding pairs, juveniles and egg clutches observed (Andrew Gray and Mark Wainwright in litt. to Bruce Young). In November 2007, a second subpopulation with dozens of adults was discovered close to the Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco in Costa Rica, at 1,984 m asl (Castro-Cruz and García-Fernández 2012). By 2010, an additional population where a handful of adults were found was also located at Chumacera, Pérez Zeledón (G. Chaves unpubl. data March 2013).

The status of this species in Panama is unclear, and surveys conducted between 2008-2010 did not render any new records (Hertz et al. 2012), but it has presumably also declined, and possibly disappeared, from this country.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:700-999
Population severely fragmented:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is a semi-aquatic frog occurring in lower montane and lower portions of montane rainforest. The species prefers dense woods, but may also be found near bodies of water in clearings or pastures. The subpopulation close to the Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco was found in an open area close to secondary forest and some shallow ponds of slow moving water, with additional animals found in secondary growth forest (A. Rojas C. pers. comm. 2008). Calling and mating take place at night, with males generally calling from vegetation in water. Breeding sites include shallow ponds, puddles or slow-moving waters. Eggs are attached to vegetation (Savage 2002).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Chytrid fungus has been confirmed both in this species and its range (Lips 2003, Puschendorf et al. 2009). Habitat loss, due to agriculture, logging, and human settlement, has presumably also affected this species. Animals from the subpopulation close to the Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco have been found with deformities, and there is some suggestion that agricultural chemicals, possibly applied to the grassy vegetation in the area, might be the cause of the deformities and the lack of larvae recently observed in the nearby stream (A. Rojas C. pers. comm. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It has been recorded from a number of protected areas. The current status of the surviving subpopulations requires further investigation and monitoring, as well as the potential impact of chytrid fungus on them; given the possibility of a chytridiomycosis outbreak, recommended conservation measures should consider the establishment of a captive-breeding programme. Additional resource protection is recommended for the currently unprotected subpopulations.

Classifications [top]

14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Castro-Cruz, A. and García-Fernández, F. 2012. Report on Lithobates vibicarius (Cope 1894) (Anura: Ranidae) in Parque NAcional de Agua Juan Castro Blanco, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Froglog 100: 69-70.

Hertz, A., Lotzkat, S. Carrizo, A., Ponce, M., Köhler, G. and Streit, B.. 2012. Field notes on findings of threatened amphibian species in the central mountain range of western Panama. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 6(2): 9-30.

Ibáñez, R., Solís, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. 2000. An overview of the herpetology of Panama. In: J.D. Johnson, R.G. Webb and O.A. Flores-Villela (eds), Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation, pp. 159-170. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Lips, K.R. 1998. Decline of a tropical montane amphibian fauna. Conservation Biology 12: 106-117.

Lips, K.R., Green, D.E. and Papendick, R. 2003. Chytridiomycosis in wild frogs from southern Costa Rica. Journal of Herpetology 37: 215-218.

Pounds, J.A., Fogden, M.P.L., Savage, J.M. and Gorman, G.C. 1997. Tests of null models for amphibian declines on a tropical mountain. Conservation Biology 11: 1307-1322.

Puschendorf, R., Carnaval, A.C., VanDerWal, J., Zumbado-Ulate, H., Chaves, G. Bolaños, F. and Alford, R.A. 2009. Distribution models for the amphibian chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Costa Rica: proposing climatic refuges as a conservation tool. Diversity and Distributions 15: 401-408.

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

Young, B., Sedaghatkish, G., Roca, E. and Fuenmayor, Q. 1999. El Estatus de la Conservación de la Herpetofauna de Panamá: Resumen del Primer Taller Internacional sobre la Herpetofauna de Panamá. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia.

Zweifel, R.G. 1964. Distribution and life history of the Central American frog Rana vibicaria. Copeia 1964(2): 300-308.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group & NatureServe. 2013. Lithobates vibicarius. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T58746A3072875. . Downloaded on 23 May 2017.
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