Frog of the Week

Talamanca Horned Tree Frog (Hemiphractus elioti)

Talamanca Horned Tree Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: Talamanca Horned Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hemiphractus elioti
Family: Hemiphractidae – Marsupial Frog family
Locations: Panama
Max Size: males – 2 inches (52.5 mm), females – 2.5 inches (64.7 mm)

The Talamanca Horned Tree Frog lives in the pre-montane primary forests in the Cordillera de Talamanca. They lives on the forest floor up to 3 feet (1 meter) off the ground in vegetation. Their coloration and weird head shape allows them to camouflage in perfectly.

The frog is a relatively new species to science, only being described in 2018. Before that, it was considered to part of the Banded Horned Tree Frog (Hemiphractus fasciatus) but there was small differences in their mouths between the species. They are both members of the family Hemiphractidae – the Marsupial Frog family. The members of the family carry their eggs on their back in various ways. The females of the Talamanca Horned Frog carry their eggs directly on their back until the eggs hatch into small froglets.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not evaluated the conservation status of the Talamanca Horned Tree Frog yet. However, the Banded Horned Tre Frog is categorized as Near Threatened. The primary threat to the frog is deforestation to make room for farms and towns. Luckily, there are captive populations of the frog that have been successful breeding.

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