Giant Monkey Frog

Giant Monkey Frog Phyllomedusa bicolor

Type of Animal:

Humid forest, drier cerrado forest

Guiana Shield, S/E Venezuela, SE Colombia, E Peru, W/N/C Brazil, N Bolivia

Very large tree frog, lime green dorsal coloration, white to yellow-white to cream belly, fingers have large adhesive disks, white spots near mouth

Insects, insect larvae, worms

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, aquariums, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture

Solitary or small groups of 2-6 frogs

Additional Info:

Young: Tadpole
Group: Army

Male: 3.5 oz
Female: 4 oz
10 days

Life Span:
10 years

Body Length:
Male: 3.6-4.1 in
Female: 4.4-4.7 in

Main predators of adults are capuchins & snakes. Staphilynid beetles & phorid flies eat eggs.
Highly arboreal, very rarely coming to ground.
Active at night (nocturnal).
For mating, male climbs onto female’s back to fertilize eggs. 

After mating, leaf-nest constructed in which gelatinous mass of eggs (as many as 600) laid 1.67-2.29 ft above water. Therefore, tadpoles can drop right in water.
Tadpole stage lasts 1.5-2.5 months. Once gills disappear & legs develop, they leave water & head for trees, entering froglet stage, which they’re in until 10-12 months old.
Large adhesive disks on fingers help them cling to trees.
Males call from high up in trees to attract females.
Males fight by wrestling-usually no major physical harm occurs.
Largest member of Phyllomedusa genus.
Sometimes kept as pets.

Fun Fact(s):
Pigments in skin help refract infrared light.
Also called Giant Waxy Monkey Frog, Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frog, Bicolor Waxy Monkey Tree Frog, Giant Leaf Frog, Blue & Yellow Frog, Biracial Tree Frog, & Kambo. Get ‘waxy’ name due to producing/spreading poisonous waxy substance over skin, helping deter predators. Besides being used as poison, wax-like substance also reduces risk of drying out.
Called monkey frogs due to tendency to walk instead of jump.
Some Amazonian tribes use poisonous wax/skin secretions in Kambo/Sapo ceremony/cleanese, which involves burning arm/leg, applying secretion (reconstituted w/ saliva/water) directly to burn. This can cause vomiting, violent nausea, headaches, diarrhea, sweating, edema, & fast heart rate. In native practice, secretions removed after 5-10 minutes. Ritual claimed to treat addiction/depression/chronic pain, reduce fevers, boost energy/physical strength, increase fertility, improve mental clarity, cleanse soul/body, & reduce negative energy. Multiple deaths have occurred from ritual & many people get very sick. Kambo also used in alternative medicines worldwide.

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