Frog of the Week

Mountain Chicken Frog (Leptodactylus fallax)

mountain-chicken-frog1
by  Gerardo Garcia /mountainchicken.org
CR

Common Name:  Mountain Chicken Frog or Giant Ditch Frog
Scientific Name: Leptodactylus fallax
Family: Leptodactylidae
Location: Dominica and Montserrat
Size: 8.2 inches (210 mm)

The Mountain Chicken Frog is one of the largest frogs left in the world, reaching over 8 inches long. The males of the species fight each other to win a mate. Once a male wins, the female and male reproduce and create a  foam nest for the eggs. The nests are usually located in burrows. Males leave the nest but protect from outside of the burrow while the females stay with the nest and protect it from there. The females will also lay unfertilized eggs in the nest for the tadpoles to eat. The tadpoles do not get anything else to eat besides the eggs.  Interesting fact, while there is only 26-43 tadpoles in the nest, the female frog will lay between 10,000—25,000 unfertilized eggs for them to eat. The tadpoles take at most 45 minutes to complete their metamorphosis.

photo by Tim Vickers

The Mountain Chicken Frog is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It was found on more islands in the Caribbean than just Dominica and Montserrat but over harvesting for eating and chytrid fungus has wiped out their populations. Now zoos and other facilities are trying to breed them and stop the spread of diseases in their population.

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