Waxy Monkey Frog (Phyllomedusa sauvagii)

Next time you come into the Tropical Rainforest Building, check out our new frogs. This kind of frog does
not hop, it walks. Waxy monkey frogs are known for being calm, careful creatures. They are well adapted to life in the trees. There are several names that they are also called, including: Painted-bellied Leaf Frog, Painted Monkey Frog, and Grasping Frog. They are very skilled at grasping branches with their opposable thumbs. During the day, they bask in the sun, pulling their arms and legs close to their body. At night they hunt for insects.


These frogs grow to about 3 inches, females being about 25% larger than males. Both the dorsal and ventral surfaces are a plain blue-green color. A broken white stripe runs from the top lip and down each side of the body. The ventral surface is marked with irregular white spots and lines. Juveniles may also show orange flash colors on the insides of their limbs.


Dry scrub forest and on vegetation near temporary lagoons or ponds.


Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.


A variety of insects.

Life Span: 

About 8 years.

Family Life: 

In the rainy season, male waxy monkey frogs will develop a single black spot on the inside of each thumb. They will call to females at night. The females lay their eggs down the middle of a leaf then fold the leaf in half. This “leaf nest” is laid over water, so that the tadpoles can drop down when they hatch. This type of frog has developed a unique way to limit water loss. Lipid secretions are produced in a special cutaneous gland and spread over the surface of the skin by the legs in a complex sequence of wiping movements.


Threatened by the pet trade, destruction of habitat, land and water pollution.