Neotropics » Amazonia

In the Amazon rainforests we have focused our research on the hylid tree-frog genus Osteocephalus and closely related genera. We described a new species, O. castaneicola, from forests in northern Bolivia. This is a phytotelm breeder and the first known tree frog breeding in water-filled fruit capsules of the Brazil nut tree. It has a parental care for oophagous tadpoles. The species was later confirmed also from Peru and Brazil.

Osteocephalus_castaneicolaOsteocephalus castaneicola (Photo by Jiří Moravec)


Within a broader international cooperation (led by Karl-Heinz Jungfer), we contributed to the knowledge on the phylogeny, phylogeography, systematics, and ecology of Osteocephalus sensu lato and Tepuihyla tree frogs (including from the Guiana Shield).

A new genus, Dryaderces, sister to Osteocephalus was described from the upper Amazon Basin and the lower eastern slopes of Andes. Five monophyletic species groups were recognized and defined within Osteocephalus. Several taxonomic and nomenclatural acts were done, and nine candidate species suggested. We concluded that species numbers are largely underestimated, with most hidden diversity centred on widespread and polymorphic nominal species. The evolutionary origin of breeding strategies within Osteocephalus was discussed in the light of the new phylogenetic hypothesis.

In addition, a novel type of amplexus was discovered in two closely related species, O. deridens and O. leoniae, and described. We termed it gular amplexus – a position in which the male clasps the female exclusively around the female’s throat. A kind of amplexus so far unknown in anurans, and probably related to phytotelm breeding.


Moravec J., Aparicio J., Guerrero-Reinhard M., Calderón G., Jungfer K.-H., Gvoždík V., 2009: A new species of Osteocephalus (Anura: Hylidae) from Amazonian Bolivia: first evidence of tree frog breeding in fruit capsules of the Brazil nut tree. Zootaxa 2215: 37–54

Jungfer K.-H., Faivovich J., Padial J.M., Castroviejo-Fisher S., Lyra M.M., Berneck B.V.M., Iglesias P.P., Kok P.J.R., MacCulloch R.D., Rodrigues M.T., Verdade V.K., Torres Gastello C.P., Chaparro J.C., Valdujo P.H., Reichle S., Moravec J., Gvoždík V., Gagliardi-Urrutia G., Ernst R., De la Riva I., Means D.B., Lima A.P., Señaris J.C., Wheeler W.C., Haddad C.F.B., 2013: Systematics of spiny-backed treefrogs (Hylidae: Osteocephalus): an Amazonian puzzle. Zoologica Scripta 42 (4): 351–380

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Václav Gvoždík, Research on the Evolutionary biology of amphibians & reptiles | Last updated October 2022