Frost (2015) suggests the taxonomy and systematics of this species and E. surinamensis are unclear.The name Elachistocleis ovalis is in need of investigation, and is not applied to a biological population. Currently the name is applied to populations from Panama, Trinidad, and Colombia southward, east of the Andes, to Bolivia. However, in Brazil all populations previously thought to be this species are assigned other names. Kenny regarded E. surinamensis as a senior synonym of Relictivomer pearsei. Elachistocleis appears to be the sister taxon of Hypopachus + Gastrophryne. Caramaschi, 2010, Bol. Mus. Nac., Rio de Janeiro, N.S., Zool., 527: 1-30, discussed the difficult nomenclatural and taxonomic history of this taxon and considered the type species, Rana ovalis Schneider, to be a nomen dubium. This has the effect of leaving populations from Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, French Guiana, and Surinam without a name.This species inhabits leaf-litter and in tree holes in tropical rainforests and on the forest edge, as well as grasslands and shrublands. Breeding takes place in ponds, and eggs and tadpoles in water. Male specimens have been found calling from water up to 30cm deep, in flooded forest. It is tolerant of some habitat modification and can survive in rural gardens and pastureland. This species is a complex of several species. Specimens from Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay have been separated from Elachistocleis ovalis as E. bicolor. It feeds primarily on ants.