Agalychnis moreletii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Phyllomedusidae

Scientific Name: Agalychnis moreletii (Duméril, 1853)
Common Name(s):
English Morelet's Treefrog, Black-eyed Leaf Frog
French Rainette arboricole de Morelet
Spanish Escuerzo, Rana de ojos negros, Rana Maki, Rana Morelet
Agalychnis holochlora Cope, 1865
Hyla holochlora Salvin, 1860
Hyla moreletii Duméril, 1853
Phyllomedusa moreletii Kellogg, 1932
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-02-01
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Pineda, E., Santos-Barrera, G., Lee, J., Aguilar-López, J., Wilson, L.D., Canseco-Márquez, L., Acevedo, M., Arias Caballero, P., Vasquez, C. & Kolby , J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garollo, E. & Hobin, L.
This species was listed as Critically Endangered in 2004 assessment because of a predicted future decline of its population, which cannot be demonstrated based on current available information. Therefore, in view of its large range and presumably large—and in some places recovering—population, it is now listed as Least Concern. However, although it seems to be quite resilient to habitat disturbance and degradation, the threats to this species might led to a future deterioration of its population status so monitoring is necessary.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs discontinuously in Mexico from northeastern Puebla state and south-central Veracruz state, and from south-central Guerrero state (new records since last assessment) to north and south-central Oaxaca state (Frías-Alvarez et al. 2008, Urbina-Cardona and Loyola, 2008, Garcia-Vazquez et al. 2009, Townsend 2011, Caviedes-Solis et al. 2015, Mata-Silva et al. 2015). In occurs also in northwestern Honduras and central Belize, and from central-western El Salvador (McCranie 2006, Herrera and Henriquez 2009). In Guatemala it is known from north, central and southern areas (Urbina-Cardona and Loyola 2008). Its elevation range is 200–2,130 m asl and it is thought that this species may occur in other localities near its known distribution (J.L. Aguilar-López and E. Pineda pers. comm. 2014). The extent of occurrence (EOO) of its current known range is 528,014 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Belize; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico (Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:59360.39
Lower elevation limit (metres):200
Upper elevation limit (metres):2130
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was previously considered to be locally abundant in some locations in Chiapas, Mexico, and in El Salvador and Guatemala. However, surveys prior to 2004 in Mexico, in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, did not detect the species and considered it to be locally extinct. This was until surveys in Mexico recorded this species in historical and new localities in the states of Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Chiapas, with variable population abundances, and even in high abundances in some localities in the state of Chiapas (Frias-Alvarez et al. 2008, Garcia-Vazquez et al. 2009, Caviedes-Solis et al. 2015) and in Guatemala (M. Acevedo pers. comm. 2016). Recently, a breeding site with abundant population (> 50 individuals) has been found in the newly established Yal Unin Yul Witz Amphibian Reserve in Guatemala (C. Vasquez pers. comm. 2016). In El Salvador it is considered a common species and its population is stable (Herrera and Henriquez 2009), while in Honduras it seems to be less common (C. Vasquez pers. comm. August 2016).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species lives in lowland to montane moist forests on mountain slopes. It occurs in both pristine and disturbed habitats, but it seems to be more abundant in shaded coffee plantations than in natural areas (Lawson 2009). Tadpoles of this species have been even found in polluted waters close to residential buildings in Guatemala city (M. Acevedo pers. comm. 2016) and in ponds surrounded by crop fields (L. Wilson pers. comm. 2016). This nocturnal species is considered to be an explosive breeder, eggs are laid on leaves and rocks above waterbodies where later the tadpoles fall down into (Burger 2012). Breeding takes place in small intermittent or permanent waterbodies (Briggs 2008).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is found in the international legal and illegal pet trade, and it is listed on CITES Appendix II.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat to this species is represented by habitat destruction and disturbance, due to the establishment of small-holder and big scale agriculture areas, livestock farming and urban development. The illegal pet trade in this species is also a threat.

Chytridiomycosis is probably a cause for the past decline of some populations of this species (Lips et al. 2006) and it could still represent a threat to the species, so the infection should be monitored carefully (G. Santos-Barrera pers. comm. 2016). However, an analysis carried out in 2009 at Yal Unin Yul Witz Nature Reserve in Guatemala found the two individuals tested not infected with chytrid (C. Vasquez pers. comm. 2016) and there is no thorough research on chytrid effects on this species throughout its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
This species occurs in a number of protected areas throughout its range. A captive-breeding programme has been established at Chester Zoo, UK, in 2008. It is listed on CITES Appendix II. Research on this species' distribution and chytrid infection is ongoing in Mexico (C. Vasquez pers. comm. 2016).

Research Needed
Studies on its population size, distribution and trends, and threats, in particular to determine whether or not the reason for the apparent decline is due to chytridiomycosis, are needed. Monitoring of trade trends would be also needed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ 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 ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 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 ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.4. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends

Bibliography [top]

Briggs, V.S. 2008. Mating Patterns of Red-Eyed Treefrogs, Agalychnis callidryas and A. moreletii. Ethology 114: 489-498.

Burger, R.M. 2012. A Brief Note on Reproduction in Morelet’s Leaf Frog, Agalychnis moreletii (Duméril). Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 47(2): 26.

Caviedes-Solis, I.W., Vazquez-Vega, L.F., Solano-Zavaleta, I., Perez-Ramos, E., Rovito, S.M., Devitt, T.J., Heimes, P., Flores-Villela, O.A., Campbell, J.A. and Montes de Oca, A.N. 2015. Everything is not lost: recent records, rediscoveries, and range extensions of Mexican hylid frogs. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2(3): 230-241.

Duellman, W.E. 2001. The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Frias-Alvarez, P., Vredenburg, V.T., Familiar-Lopez, M., Longcore, L.E., Gonzalez-Bernal, E., Santos-Barrera, G., Zambrano, L. and Parra-Olea, G. 2008. Chytridiomycosis Survey in Wild and Captive Mexican Amphibians. EcoHealth 5(1): 18-26.

Garcia-Vazquez, U.O., Canseco-Marquez, L., Gutierrez-Mayen, G. and Trujano-Ortega, M. 2009. Actualizacion del conocimiento de la fauna herpetologica en el estado de Puebla, Mexico. Boletin de la Sociedad Herpetologica Mexicana 17(1): 12-36.

Herrera, N. and Henriquez, V. 2009. Estado del conocimiento y conservación de Agalychnis moreletii en El Salvador. MARN - Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available at: (Accessed: 5 December 2017).

Lawson, T. 2009. Habitat effects on chytridiomycosis infection in the critically endangered Agalychnis moreletii. Master of Science Thesis, College of Charleston.

Lee, J.C. 1996. The Amphibians and Reptiles of the Yucatán Peninsula. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lips, K.R., Brem, F., Brenes, R., Reeve, J.D., Alford, R.A., Voyles, J., Carey, C., Livo, L., Pessier, A.P. and Collins, J.P. 2006. Emerging infectious disease and the loss of biodiversity in a Neotropical amphibian community. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103(9): 3165-3170.

Lips, K.R., Mendelson III, J.R., Munoz-Alonso, A., Canseco-Marquez, L. and Mulcahy, D.G. 2004. Amphibian population declines in montane southern Mexico: resurveys of historical localities. Biological Conservation 119: 555-564.

Mata-Silva, V., Johnson, J.D., Wilson, L.D. and Garcia-Padilla, E. 2015. The herpetofauna of Oaxaca, Mexico: composition, physiographic distribution, and conservation status. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2(1): 6-62.

McCranie, J.R. 2006. Specimen locality data & museum numbers / Ubicación y números de museo de los especímenes, Información complementaria for / a la "Guía de Campo de los Anfibios de Honduras" by / por James R. McCranie y Franklin E. Castañeda. Smithsonian Herpetological Information Service 137: 1-39.

McCranie, J.R. and Wilson, L.D. 2002. The Amphibians of Honduras. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Santos-Barrera, G., Lee, J., Acevedo, M. and Wilson, L.D. 2004. Agalychnis moreletii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . Available at: (Accessed: 18 August 2016).

Townsend, J.H. 2011. Integrative taxonomy reveals the Chortis Block of Central America as an underestimated hotspot of amphibian diversity. PhD Dissertation, University of Florida.

Urbina-Cardona, N.J. and Loyola, R.D. 2008. Applying niche-based models to predict endangered-hylid potential distributions: are neotropical protected areas effective enough? Tropical Conservation Science 1(4): 417-445.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2017. Agalychnis moreletii. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T55293A53951672. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
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