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Males 46-54 mm, females 46-55 mm. The skin is smooth in males and granular in females. The dorsal surface usually has irregular brown and black patches, but some individuals are almost uniform reddish or dark brown. There may be a light mid-dorsal line. The head is triangular, and the snout pointed. A line of tubercles extends from behind the eye along the side to the base of the legs. The belly is gray to brown.
Juveniles are similar to Dendrophryniscus minutus in general form, but the ventral surface of D. minutus is black at the front, and spotted black and white on the hind part.