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The Amazon river frog, Lithobates palmipes, is a common terrestrial frog found near slow moving rivers, ponds, flooded forests and other permanent water sources. L. palmipes is one of a few neotropical frog species dispersed widely throughout much of the Amazon basin from Columbia, Venezuela and the Guianas south through eastern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and across Brazil to the Atlantic Forest.
Mostly because of its enormous range which makes it extremely hard to sample across, L. palmipes it has a long history of being considered a single species; however more recent morphological and molecular taxonomic work finds that L. palmipes represents a species complex containing multiple species. Although it is listed as of least concern by the IUCN, it is highly likely that some deep split lineages represent cryptic species that are vulnerable.
Lithobates palmipes is a small nocturnal frog, 50-120mm (2-4.7 in) in snout vent length. Between the two lateral ridges that run along its back it is usually some variation of green in coloring; elsewhere on its dorsal surface it is grey/green and variously speckled with black; legs are lighter cream/grey. A black stripe runs from the snout through the eye and above the tympanum. The ventral side is cream-colored. Females deposit eggs into water sources. Variation in adaptions to flow in water and other larval characters may show greater morphological differentiation than adults among cryptic species.
The L. palmipes species group are only native Lithobates species found in Brazil, though one other species from the genus, L. catesbeianus (the American bullfrog) has been introduced from North America and competes for resources.