Frog of the Week

Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii)

Darwin's Frog
photo by Mono Andes
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Darwin’s Frog
Scientific Name: Rhinoderma darwinni
Family: Rhinodermatidae
Location: Argentina and Chile
Maximum Size: 1.2 inches (31 mm)

The Darwin’s Frog are named after the father of evolution, Charles Darwin, who described them on his trip on the HMS Beagle. They are found in the cool, temperate forests of southern Argentina and Chile. The frogs are mainly diurnal, active during the day, when they bask in the sun. They vary in color from green to brown.

Darwin's Frog
photo by Flavio Camus

The breeding season is from November to March. The males will call throughout the day and night. Eventually, the female will arrive. Once the female frog lays her eggs on the ground, the male fertilize them. She will lay around 40 eggs. Next, the male will guard the eggs until they start to move. Then, the male swallows the embryos and puts them in his vocal sac. The frogletts stay in the mouth until they complete their metamorphosis, generally two months long. Then, they jump out of the male’s mouth. There is only one other frog in the whole world that has the same reproduction method, The Chile Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma rufum). Sadly, the Chile Darwin’s Frog hasn’t been seen since 1981.

darwin's frog

The Darwin’s Frog is listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. A lot of their habitat is being cut down to make room a variety of things such as towns, tree plantations, and gold mining. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen, has been found on the frogs and could be causing declines.

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