The dwarf surinam toad has a head that is narrow, with large eyes, and the snout is pointed. The tongue is lacking and the upper lip has a labial pocket at the angle of the jaw. They do not have any teeth. The skin is covered with small tubercles of varying size, density, and definition. On the head tubercles are smaller but uniform in size and distribution, while on the back they are dense and large. Upper parts of the limbs also have large tubercles but are not as numerous. The skull is longer than it is wide, and relatively elongated compared to other pipid species, though still possessing the characteristic wedge shape. These frogs have a uniform dark brown coloration on the head, back, limbs and associated tubercles. Ventrally, the dark brown fades into a light gray/tan, and may be unspotted or have sparse indistinct spots on the pectoral region. Some specimens have been reported as brown with tan tubercles and scattered dark brown spots, or blackish gray dorsally with obscure darker spots, and grayish white ventrally, with some spotting on the flanks and throat. While the feet have the same coloration, the webbing between the fingers and toes is completely transparent. The mouth structure is about half the head width and is terminal, slightly toward the ventral side of the head. The skull and jaws are largely composed of embryonic cartilage and are long, broad and flat. Tadpoles are dark gray-brown dorsally, with transparent ventral surfaces.