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Frog of the Week

Napo Cochran Frog (Nymphargus anomalus)

Napo Cochran Frog (Nymphargus anomalus)
photo by Santiago Ron
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Napo Cochran Frog, Anomalous Glassfrog, Rana de Cristal Anómala
Scientific Name: Nymphargus anomalus
Family: Centrolenidae – Glass Frog family
Locations: Ecuador
Size: 0.94 – 1.06 inches (21 – 27 mm)

The Napo Cochran Frog lives in the trees of the Amazonian slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. Its translucent skin helps it blend into leaves in the trees to help avoid predators during the day. While most glass frogs have a green hue to their skin, the Napo Cochran Frog has a tan one. That’s why its scientific name is anomalus meaning irregular or uneven.

During the mating season, the males call from trees overhanging streams. During mating, the female lays her eggs on moss covered branches hanging over the stream. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the stream below where they will stay until they complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Napo Cochran Frog as Endangered. It was previously assessed as Critically Endangered due to it not being seen since the 1970s. Luckily, new small populations of the frog were found and so the situation isn’t as dire for the frog. However, its still not looking good for the frog due to the destruction of its habitat to make room for more farms and urban development.

Frog of the Week

Woodworker Frog (Limnodynastes lignarius)

Woodworker Frog
photo by Melissa Bruton

Common Name: Woodworker Frog or Carpenter Frog
Scientific Name: Limnodynastes lignarius
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog family
Locations: Australia
Size: 2.6 inches (6.5 cm)

The Woodworker Frog lives near rocky areas in northern Australia. It is named after its call that sounds like someone hammering. The breeding season lasts from December to March (possibly April). The males calls out to attract the female. Once the female arrives, the male grasps the female from behind in amplexus position. Before laying her eggs, the female whips up a foam nest to protect the eggs from drying out. Then, the female frog lays between 350 – 400 eggs.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Woodworker Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. It has a wide range and a presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

Strecker’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris streckeri)

Strecker's Chorus Frog
photo by Ashley Tubbs

Common Name: Strecker’s Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris streckeri
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas
Size: 1.88 inches (48 mm)

While the Strecker’s Chorus Frog is a member of the tree frog family, it spends most of its time burrowed underground. They use their front legs to dig which is unusual for frogs and toads. The best time to see them is during their breeding season in late winter and spring. The frogs breed in ditches, ponds, vernal ponds, and flooded fields. The males call out from the shallows of these water bodies in hopes of attracting female frogs. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them.

The Strecker’s Chorus Frog and the Illinois Chorus Frog used to be one species before being separated into two separate ones.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Strecker’s Chorus Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frogs have a wide range and presumed large population. Biggest threats to them is the draining of wetlands to make room for more development.

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.


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.


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.


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.