Common Name: Korean Crevice Salamander Scientific Name:Karsenia koreana Family:Plethodontidae Location: Republic of Korea (South Korea) Size: 1.6 inches (42 mm) Snout to Vent Length
The Korean Crevice Salamander is the ONLY salamander from the family Plethodontidae that is found in Asia. Like all Plethodontid salamanders, the Korean Crevice Salamander lacks lung and breathes through its skin. It is thought that it is also fully terrestrial because it lives far away from streams. The species isn’t well studied so the mating and reproduction of the salamander is a mystery.
The goal of Herper of the Week is to highlight people from all walks of life who work with reptiles and amphibians and show their work to others. This week’s Herper of the Week is Marcel Talla Kouette. Marcell Talla Kouette is working on his Ph.D at the University of Florida. His research focuses on the caecilians of Cameroon.
Because of the lifestyle of caecilians, not much info is known about it’s natural history and conservation status. Marcel is working to learn more. He is even given an Edge of Existence Fellowship 2011 to survey for caecilians.
Common Name: Golden Coquí, Coquí Dorado Scientific Name:Eleutherodactylus jasperi Family:Eleutherodactylidae Location: Puerto Rico Size: Under one inch long
The Golden Coqu is a small frog found only in Puerto Rico but it might even be extinct there. It hasn’t been seen since 1981. The frogs are only found in bunches of bromeliads of the genera Guzmania, Hohenbergia, and Vriesia.
The Golden Coquí is one of the only ovoviviparous frogs in the world. After mating, it becomes pregnant for under a month and then gives birth to small froglets.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I know all of you are wondering, how do frogs have sex? Today is your lucky day because I’ll be explaining it. There are many different ways that frogs and toads reproduce and if I try to cover them all, this post might become its own book.
Frogs and toads generally start breeding in early spring or late winter if the weather is nice. They also start breeding at the change from dry season to wet season. The breeding season ends in summer, giving the offspring the longest time to develop before winter or dry season comes.
The most well known way that frogs reproduce is in the water through external fertilization. Male frogs can be found in bodies of water calling for female mates during the night. Some frogs breed in vernal ponds / ephemeral pools (temporary ponds created by melting of snow and spring rain) because these ponds lack fish that can prey on their offspring. Other frogs look for more permanent bodies of water because their tadpoles don’t undergo metamorphosis until after the next winter. For this sort of reproduction, females come into the territory of a male and the male jumps on her back. This mating position is called amplexus. Males will often try to mate with anything, including different species of frogs, toads, and fish. Male frogs don’t have penises, they have an opening called the cloaca where the sperm is released. Females have this opening too, where the eggs come out. The male grips the female from behind so that when he releases his sperm, there’s a better chance at fertilizing the eggs. Other males sometimes will come into the frog’s territory and also jump on the female while the other male is holding her. They sometimes even form giant piles of frogs or toads. Occasionally, it gets so rough, the female is killed. Usually though, the female releases her eggs and the male fertilizes them and she goes on her merry way.
While some frogs mate in the water like that, many others mate on the ground, and some even mate in the trees. During reproduction in the trees, the couple makes a foam nest out of the eggs and other secretions to keep the eggs dry. For the species that reproduce on land, the eggs might never need water because when they hatch, the offspring is immediately a froglet and not a tadpole.
Not all frogs use external fertilization, some use internal fertilization. There are different ways that frogs and toads use internal fertilization. Some frogs such as the Tailed Frogs from Ascaphidae, perform internal fertilization then lay fertilized eggs later. The Tailed Frog’s tail is used in fertilization.
The Nimba Toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis) is the only known viviparous frog / toad. The frog is pregnant for 9 months and the babies feed off the mom’s secretion.
The genus Nectophrynoides and theGolden Coquí (Eleutherodactylus jasperi)are the only known ovoviviparous frogs and toads, where they have eggs inside them that hatch and then they give birth to little froglets.
Ok just kidding about them being the only ovoviviparous frogs because there is another one but it’s kind of different. The Fanged Frog (Limnonectes larvaepartus) is also ovoviviparous but instead of giving birth to froglets, it gives birth to tadpoles.
Can you tell if this is a frog or a toad? Try to make a guess below! If you need some tips read this. Also if you want to know what exactly are the differences between frogs and toads, read this! Answer will be posted tomorrow!
The goal of Herper of the Week is to highlight people from all walks of life who work with reptiles and amphibians and show their work to others. This week’s Herper of the Week is Sebastian Harris, a Graduate student at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the microhabitat selection of gestating Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus).
Common Name: Cayenne caecilian Scientific Name:Typhlonectes compressicauda Family:Typhlonectidae Location: Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela Size: Around 20 inches or 523 mm
The Cayenne Caecilian lives in permanent rivers and marshes in the lowland forests of South America. Like most species of the family Typhlonectidae, it is fully aquatic. Like all caecilians, the Cayenne Caecilian lacks any arms or legs.
During the day, the Cayenne Caecilian hides in it’s mud burrows and then come out at night to hunt. They hunt for aquatic invertebrates but often eat dead fish found in permanent fishing nets. If the caecilian is attacked while hunting, they can produce mucus to hopefully scare off the predators.
The Cayenne Caecilian likes to breed during the rainy season like most amphibians do. Fertilization is international for the Cayenne Caecilian and for all caecilians. They are viviparous and give birth to live caecilians.
Common Name: Couch’s Spadefoot Toad Scientific Name:Scaphiopus couchii Family:Scaphiopodidae Location: Mexico and the United States of America. US Location: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas Size: 3 inches or 8 centimeters
Like all Spadefoot Toads, the Couch’s Spadefoot Toad has a keratonized sheath on it’s back feet. They use this “spade” to help them dig. The Coach’s Spadefoot Toad has a more sickle-shaped spade which can help distinguish it from other Spadefoot toads. The toad is named after Darius N. Couch, who collected the first specimen observed by white people.
For most of the year, the Couch’s Spadefoot Toad is found burrowed down underneath the ground. When the rain starts in spring and summer, the frogs come out and breed in temporary ponds.
The answer to this week’s frog or toad is…. complicated but let’s go with toad. It is called the Short-limbed Frog, or Sikkim Spade Foot Frog (Scutiger sikimmensis) from the family Megophryidae. It is found in the Himalayas.
The species used to be part of the True Toad family – Bufonidae but it was moved to Megophryidae which isn’t really a toad family. It has features of a toad, bumpy, wart skin and apparently a paratoid gland?