Rhinoderma darwinii

Geographic Range

Chile and Argentina (Crump 1999).


R. darwinii is found in temperate forests and rainforests (Cannatella 1995, Gallardo 1999).

Physical Description

Length: 2.5-3.5cm

Rhinoderma darwinii has a triangular shaped head with a long, and somewhat pointy nasal extension. Color ranges from brown to bright green depending on the substrate R. darwinii is imitating. The ventrum is more brilliantly colored with a black background and big white spots as well as smaller yellow and orange spots. Its skin is basically smooth with only a few wart glands (Gallardo 1999).

  • Range length
    2.5 to 3.5 cm
    0.98 to 1.38 in



Female Rhinoderma darwinii lay their eggs on moist soil and when the eggs hatch, the males "swallow" the tadpoles and put them in their specialized vocal sacs. The tadpoles stay there through metamorphosis, about 6 weeks, and then are released in a series of convulsive movements as miniature frogs (Cogger and Zweifel 1998, Gallardo 1999)


Food Habits

R. darwinii is insectivorous (Gallardo 1999).

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Conservation Status

Other Comments

R. darwinii is also known as the "Cowboy Frog" locally. Some explanations for this are that they sound like a cowboy whistling for his cattle, the ventrum spots look like cow spots, and they possess skin extensions on their legs that look like spurs.


Melissa Linsted (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

external fertilization

fertilization takes place outside the female's body


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Cannatella, D. 1995. "Rhinoderma" (On-line). Accessed Nov. 16, 1999 at http://www.zo.texas.edu/research/salientia/rhinoderma/rhinoderma.html.

Cogger, H., R. Zweifel. 1998. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Crump, M. Accessed Nov. 16, 1999 at http://artedi.fish.washington.edu/asih/abstract/CRUMPMAR.html.

Gallardo, M. "Ecobiobio" (On-line). Accessed Dec. 1, 1999 at http://www.proinco.net/ecobiobio/english/d-bio-2eng.html.