Frog of the Week

Spotted Poison Frog (Ranitomeya vanzolinii)

Spotted Poison Frog
photo by John P Clare

Common Name: Spotted Poison Frog and Brazilian Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Ranitomeya vanzolinii
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Brazil and Peru
Size: 0.65 – 0.74 inches (16.7 – 19 mm)

The Spotted Poison Frog is an arboreal poison dart frog, primarily living at least 6 feet (2 meters) off the ground. Juvenile frogs on the species can be found in the leaf litter.

The frogs mate in tree holes that are partially filled with water. If more than one egg is laid, male waits for the eggs to hatch and then carries each tadpole to its own tree cavity. Then, the male guides the female to each cavity where she lays unfertilized eggs for the tadpole to each.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Spotted Poison Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population.

The species is named after Paulo Vanzolini, a Brazilian herpetologist and music composer, specially sambas.

croctober

False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii)

False Gharial
photo by Fritz Geller-Grimm

Common Name: False Gharial, Malayan Gharial, or Sunda Gharial
Scientific Name: Tomistoma schlegelii
Family: Gavialidae – Gharial family
Locations: Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia
Size: 16 feet (5 meters)

The False Gharial is a shy species of crocodilian, living in deep, secluded forests where they rarely ever basking. Due to their secretive nature, not a lot is known about their life history. While their snout appears to have developed to eat fish, they actually eat a wide variety of food items, such as insects, crustaceans, and mammals including monkeys.

Courtship for the False Gharial occurs during periods of rain. The female lays between 15 – 35 eggs. Then, she build a mount over the eggs. The mounts are close to 2 feet high and 4.5 feet wide. The female does not provide any more care for their offspring, unusual for crocodilians. The eggs take around 90 days to hatch.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the False Gharial as Vulnerable to Extinction. Swamp forest habitat that they live in is being destroyed to make room for plantations.

The scientific name schlegelii honors German herpetologist Hermann Schlegel. The dude didn’t believe in evolution so I’m not sure why we honor him.

Frog of the Week

Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog (Triprion petasatus)

Yucatecan Casquehead Treefrog
photo by Maximilian Paradiz

Common Name: Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog, Yucatán Casque-headed Treefrog,
Scientific Name: Triprion petasatus
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico
Female Size: 2.6 – 3 inches (65 mm – 75.2 mm)
Male Size 1.9 – 2.4 inches (48.1 mm – 60.8 mm)

The Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog lives throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, spending most of its time in holes in trees. Their unique head shape is used to block the entrances to these holes and due to the ossification of their head, they lose very little water this way compared to frogs blocking the holes with their body. The frog breeds during the rainy season from April to October. The males will call from around 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) above the ground near pools and basins formed in limestone. Their call sounds like a duck’s quack. The female lays her eggs in these basins.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a large population.

Frog of the Week

Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne mazatlanensis)

Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad
photo by Jim Rorabaugh

Common Name: Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad or Sinaloan Narrow-mouthed Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne mazatlanensis
Family: Microhylidae
Locations: Mexico and the United States – Arizona
Size: 1.6 inches (4 cm)

The Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad was originally thought to be its own species before researchers merged it into the Great Plains Narrowed Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea). It sat as a subspecies for over 50 years before researchers decided to elevated back to its own species. Not much is known to be different in its life history than the Great Plains Narrowed Mouth Toad and it seems no one has really tried to study it. They spend most of their life underground which also doesn’t help with knowing what they are doing. However, the toads come to the surface to breed. They breed following the heavy spring and summer rains.

The International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the toad.

Frog of the Week

Veragua Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus cruciger)

Veragua Stubfoot Toad
photo by Indiana Cristo

Common English Name: Veragua Stubfoot Toad and Rancho Grande Harlequin Frog
Local Name: Sapito Rayado
Scientific Name: Atelopus cruciger
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Venezuela
Male Size: 1.1 – 1.3 inches (28.2–34.6 mm)
Female Size: 1.5 – 2 inches (39.5–49.9 mm)

The toads mate during the dry season, where they can be found on rocks and vegetation near fast moving streams. The males call out for the females and when the females arrive, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female carries the male over to the stream. Amplexus can last up to 19 days for the species. Next, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 150 – 270 eggs in several clutches. The eggs hatch into tadpoles that use their abdominal suckers to attach to rocks in the fast moving stream.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Veragua Stubfoot Toad as Critically Endangered. The toads have disappeared from nearly all of its range. The culprit is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen. Luckily, a few populations of the toad remain in some national parks and are surviving against the disease.

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Salamanders and Newts of Prince Edward Island

Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander family

Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale)

The Blue Spotted Salamander has a dark body with speckled blue dots on its side.

Spotted Salamander  (Ambystoma maculatum)

The Spotted Salamander has a dark body with 2 lines of yellow dots down its body.

Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamander family

Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)

The Eastern Red-backed Salamander has a dark gray body with a red stripe down its back. Sometimes, the salamander lacks the red on its back and is just gray in color.

Salamandridae

Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)

The Eastern Newt has 3 distinct life stages, an aquatic larval phase, a terrestrial eft stage, and another aquatic stage but as an adult.

Uncategorized

Fitzinger’s Robber Frog (Craugastor fitzingeri)

Fitzinger's Robber Frog
photo by WIlliam Flaxington

Common Name: Fitzinger’s Robber Frog
Scientific Name: Craugastor fitzingeri
Family: Craugastoridae
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Female Size: 2 inches (52.5 mm)
Male Size: 0.9 – 1.4 inches (23.5 – 35 mm)

The Fitzinger’s Robber Frog lives in a variety of habitats from rain forests to dry gallery forests. They are primarily found amongst the leaf litter. The species is named after Leopold Fitzinger, an Austrian zoologist.

Females lays around 85 eggs and will sit on the nest until they hatch. They are a direct developing species, skipping a free larval phase.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Fitzinger’s Robber Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are common throughout it.

Frog of the Week

Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina)

Agile Frog
photo by Simon J. Tonge

Common Name: Agile Frog
Scientific Name: Rana dalmatina
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
Introduced Locations: Belgium
Size: 3.14 inches (8 cm)

The Agile Frog lives throughout most of Europe besides the northern regions.

The breeding season starts shortly after the frogs awake from their hibernation (between February and March) and lasts until April. Males gather in large groups in the shallows of water bodies to call. Once the female arrives, the males try to grasp the female behind in the amplexus position. The female frog lays between 450 – 1800 eggs. The tadpoles usually take 2 to 4 months to complete their metamorphosis but have been known stay as tadpoles over winter and complete it in spring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Agile Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are numerous throughout it. Though in some areas of its range, it has been harder to find due to draining of wetlands and cutting down woodlands they call home. On the isle of Jersey, the frogs are considered critically endangered and they have even re-introduced the species there.

Uncategorized

Frogs and Toads of Wales

Wales is not home to many species of frogs and toads.

Frogs

Ranidae – True Frog family

commonfrog
European Common Brown Frog (Rana temporaria)

Common Name: European Common Brown Frog
Scientific Name: Rana temporaria
Location: Throughout

The Common Frog has smoother skin than the toads.

Toads

Bufonidae – True Toad family

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Nattarjack Toad(Epidalea calamita)

Common Name: Nattarjack Toad
Scientific Name: Epidalea calamita
Location: North Wales coast

The Nattarjack has a bold yellow line down the center of its back, differing from the Common Toad. They are usually smaller than the Common Toad as well.

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Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Common Name: Common Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo bufo
Location: Throughout

The most wide spread of the frogs and toads of Wales.

Introduced Species

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African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis)

Common Name: African Clawed Frog
Scientific Name: Xenopus laevis
Location: Southern Wales

The African Clawed Frog is a fully aquatic frog that was once used as pregnancy tests in labs. Sadly, some individuals have escaped those labs or were released. These frogs are blamed for the spread of diseases.

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Common Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricans)

Common Name: Common Midwife Toad
Scientific Name: Alytes obstericans
Location: Around Llandrindod Wells

Originally introduced in Bedford in the 19th century, the toad has spread out a bit.