Frog of the Week

Chaco Horned Frog (Chacophrys pierotti)

Chaco Horned Frog
photo by Nadia Bach

Common Name: Chaco Horned Frog, Lesser Chini Frog, Chacoan Burrowing Frog, and Escuercito
Scientific Name: Chacophrys pierotti
Family: Ceratophryidae – Horned Frog Family
Location: Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay
Size: 1.7 – 2.5 inches (45 – 65 mm)

The Chaco Horned Frog lives in the hot, semi arid Gran Chaco and Chaco Seco regions It has adapted to this area by living a fossorial (living underground), nocturnal (active at night) lifestyle. While underground, the frog makes a cocoon out of their dead skin to prevent water loss. Best time to see the frogs is during the rainy season when the frogs come to the surface to breed.

Breeding activity spikes in January. Thanks to the rain, temporary lagoons form which the males call from the edges of. Once the females arrive, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Then, the female lays her eggs and the males fertilizes them. Neither parent provides any parental care.

The Chaco Horned Frog is the only species in the genus Chacophrys.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Chaco Horned Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and a presumed large population. However, increased farming has decreased the quality of the habitat. Also, there is increased frequency of fires in the region.

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