Frog of the Week

Carvalho’s Surinam Toad (Pipa carvalhoi)

photo by Renato Augusto Martins

least concern

Common Name: Carvalho’s Surinam Toad
Scientific Name: Pipa carvalhoi
Family: Pipidae – Tongueless Frog family
Locations: Brazil
Female Size: 2.6 inches (68 mm)
Male Size: 2.2 inches (57 mm)

The Carvalho’s Surinam Toad is a highly aquatic frog, only leaving the water to escape drying ponds. Males of the species are territorial, chasing away and even wrestling male frogs that invade their territory. Just like its cousin the Surinam Toad (Pipa pipa), the Carvalho’s Surinam Toad gives “birth” to their young out of their back. To accomplish this task, the male grasps around the female’s waist (inguinal amplexus). The female swims upward to the surface and releases her eggs. She then turns down and the male then fertilizes the eggs and pushes them into the female’s back The couple does this repeatable until all the eggs are released from the female. After 2 to 4 weeks, tadpoles emerge from the mother’s back, slightly different than the Surinam Toad who has froglets emerge.


Mink Frog (Rana septentrionalis)

photo by Mike Ostrowski

least concern

Common Name: Mink Frog
Scientific Name: Rana septentrionalis
Family: Ranidae – True Frog Family
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin
Size: 3 inches (76 mm)

The Mink Frog is found along the eastern border of the United States and Canada. It appears similar to Green Frogs and American Bullfrogs but it has dark spots on its legs that the other two doesn’t. They are named after their smell that supposedly smells like a mink. Others have described the smell as like rotting onions. Suffice to say that no one wants to smell this frog. The Mink Frog has also been called the Frog of the North due to it living so far north. No Mink Frogs were present at the battle for Winterfell.


tree frog thursday

Pine Wood’s Frog (Hyla femoralis)

photo by Jeromi Hefner; USGS

Common Name: Pine Wood’s Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla femoralis
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: 1.5 inches

The Pine Wood’s Tree Frog can be found in pine forests hence their name but they can also be found in flatwoods and cypress marshes. They are often mistaken for Gray Tree Frogs or Bird Voiced Tree Frogs but can be differentiated due to the yellow, orange, or white spots on their inner thighs. Breeding takes place between March to October depending on location. The frogs come down from the trees to ponds and pools. The males start to call to attract a mate. The frog has been nicknamed the Morse Code Frog due to their call. The female lays between 800 to 2,000 eggs.



Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

photo by Phil Myers

least concern

Common Name: Columbia Spotted Frog
Scientific Name: Rana luteiventris
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 4 inches (10.1 cm)

The Columbia Spotted Frog has a very large range from Alaska down to Nevada and Utah. They can be found at sea level all the way up 10,000 feet high in elevation. They can be found active during the winter underneath the ice. Breeding for the frog takes place between February to early July, depending on elevation and latitude, after the snow starts to melt. The frog mates like most frogs do, the males call from the shallows of a water body and the female selects her mate. The pair goes into amplexus while the female lays her eggs. Neither parent provides any care for the eggs or offspring. Eggs are typically laid in aquatic vegetation to protect and hide the eggs. The adults can be found in or near the edges of water bodies when not hibernating.

Toad Tuesday

Nimba Toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis)

photo by Laura Sandberger-Loua

critically endangered

Common Name: Nimba Toad
Scientific Name: Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Liberia
Size:1.1 inches (28.7 mm)

The Nimba Toad spend most of their time during the dry season underground and dormant from November to March. Males can call anytime during the wet season but prefer September. The Nimba Toad is one of the only viviparous species of toads, meaning that the female toad gives birth to live toadlets. Between 4-35 toadlets are given birth to.

There are two subspecies of the Nimba Toad – Western Nimba Toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis occidentalis) and the Liberia Nimba Toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis liberiensis). The Western Nimba Toad is significantly smaller than the Liberia Nimba Toad. The Liberia Nimba Toad is found in Liberia while the Western Nimba Toad is found in Guinea and the Cote d’Ivoire.

The Nimba Toad is listed as critically endangered due to mining operations. The type location for the toad has become an open mining pit.


Frog of the Week

Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (Rana sierrae)

photo by William Flaxington

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sierrae
Family: Ranidae – True Frog Family
Locations: United States – California and Nevada (probably extinct there)
Size: 2 – 3 inches (5 – 7.6 cm)

The Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog is a federally listed endangered species by the United States. One study found that 92% of the population have become extinct. There are two primary causes for the decline: Chytrid Fungus and introduced non-native species.  Chytrid Fungus is a deadly pathogen that has affected frogs around the world. It causes the skin of the frog to harden preventing air flow in the frog. Introduced trouts have preyed on the tadpoles of the frogs, causing declines. Experiments of complete removal of the trouts in lakes have shown to increase the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frogs. Other smaller threats to the frog are climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction due to cattle grazing.


Toad Tuesday

Amargosa Toad (Anaxyrus nelsoni)


Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Amargosa Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus nelsoni
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – Nevada
Size: 5 inches (127 mm)

The Amargosa Toad is found in the Oasis Valley along the Amargosa River, hence the name. Its species epithet –  nelsoni is in honor of Edward William Nelson (May 8, 1855 – May 19, 1934) , an American naturalist. The toad has an extremely small range, so it is considered to be endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) redlist but is not on the United States Endangered Species list. Locals are working to help restore the populations of the toads to avoid it being listed as an endangered species. The cause of the declines of the toads are due to habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species such as American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) and crayfish. Interesting fact about the Amargosa Toad is that the males do not call to attract females for breeding.



International Tiger Day

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Happy International Tiger Day! The Tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living species of all the feline species. It can reach lengths of 10 feet long. There is only ONE species of living tigers, but a few different subspecies are recognized. The White Tiger is not a subspecies of the tiger, but is just a genetic variation. Sadly, the tigers haven’t been doing well in the wild. They have been wiped out of an estimated 93% of their historic range. Luckily, many conservation organizations are working to save them. Most of the work involves protecting and restoring habitat for the tigers while keeping them safe from poachers.

Toad Tuesday

Arroya Toad (Anaxyrus californicus)

photo by USFWS

Conservation status is Endangered
Common Name: Arroya Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus californicus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Location: California
Size: 3 inches (7.6 cm)

The Arroya Toad is only found in southern California and Baja California. It is listed as a federally endangered species by the United States federal government. It has been estimated that the toad has lost 75% of its original range due to humans. Much of their habitat has been ruined due to damming of creeks and off roading activities. Invasive species introduced into their environment such as American Bull Frogs and trouts have feasted on them. These threats must be handled to save the species.

The Arroya Toad has a typical breeding behavior for a toad. Breeding takes place from March to the end of July. The male toads release high calls to attract the females from shallow water bodies. Eventually, the toads meet up and the male will grasp the female in amplexus. The female releases over 4000 eggs. It takes over two months for the tadpoles to develop into toads.


Frog of the Week

Sanguine Poison Arrow Frog (Allobates zaparo)

photo by Santiago Ron

least concern

Common Name: Sanguine Poison Arrow Frog, Zaparo’s Poison Frog, and Sanguine Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Allobates zaparo
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Ecuador and Peru
Size: 1.2 inches (30.5 mm)

The Sanguine Poison Arrow Frog is a diurnal (active during the day) species of frog. It can move around during the bright daylight without fear due to their bright colors that warn predators that they are poisonous. Surprise! They aren’t actually poisonous. They use batesian mimicry, where they look similar to other poisonous frogs but actually aren’t. The frog species it mimics are the Ecuador Poison Dart Frog (Ameerega bilinguis) and the Ruby Poison Dart Frog (Ameerega parvulus).  Interestingly,  in areas where both of the frogs inhabit, the Sanguine Poison Arrow Frog mimics the coloration of the Ecuador Poison Dart Frog, the less poisonous of the two.

The breeding for the Sanguine Poison Arrow Frog is pretty typical for any poison dart frog. The frogs lay their eggs on leaves and when the eggs hatch, the parents carry the tadpoles on their back to a body of water. It isn’t known which parent or if both parents carry the eggs over to the water.