Other Amphibian of the Week

Dwarf Waterdog (Necturus punctatus)

waterdog
photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Dwarf Waterdog
Scientific Name: Necturus punctatus
Family: Proteidae
Locations: United States – Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: 7.5 inches

The Dwarf Waterdog is the smallest species of genus Necturus. Like all members of the species, they are aquatic and keep their gills throughout their life. Not much is known about the reproductive behaviors of the waterdog but it is believed they mate in winter. The eggs are later laid in spring from March to May. The females lay around 15 to 50 eggs. Nothing is known about nesting sites, how long it takes the eggs to hatch, or any courtship behaviors.

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Toad Tuesday

Coastal Plains Toad (Incilius nebulifer)

coastalplainstoad
photo by Kevin Young

least concern
Common Name: Coastal Plains Toad
Scientific Name: Incilius nebulifer
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Location: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi
Size: 5 inches

The Coastal Plains Toad used to be part of the Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps) species but was split off due to genetic testing. It is still kinda confusing even though it happened over 20 years ago.

The spring and summer rains bring the males out to start calling to attract females. They will breed in a variety of still-water sources such as ponds, wetlands, and roadside ditches. Females can lay up to 20,000 eggs in a clutch and have been observed to lay two clutches in extended breeding seasons. Neither the male or female show any parental care towards the eggs. The eggs will hatch in a day or two and the tadpoles will complete metamorphosis in 20 to 30 days.

The Coastal Plains Toad has adapted alright to the urbanization of their habitat. They have been observed to hide under concrete slabs and in cracks and holes of sidewalks.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Varagua Caecilian (Gymnopis multiplicata)

2284
photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Varagua Caecilian
Scientific Name: Gymnopis multiplicata
Family: Dermophiidae
Locations: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Size: 2 inches

Like most caecilian species, the Varagua Caecilian is a mysterious species of caecilian that not much is known about. They are a fossorial species, spending most of their time underground, even up to 3 meters deep. The Varagua Caecilian is thought to be viviparous, giving birth to live young. The offspring feed off the nutrient secretions from the mother after they use up the yolk while still inside of the mother. The offspring complete metamorphosis while still inside the mother. The mothers are pregnant for 11 months before giving birth.

 

 

Frog of the Week

Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

pig_frog_profile.jpg
photo by the USFWS

least concern
Common Name: Pig Frog
Scientific Name: Lithobates grylio
Family: Ranidae – True Frog Family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas
Introduced Locations: Bahamas, China, and Puerto Rico.
Size: 6.5 inches (165 mm)

The Pig Frog is named after the male’s mating call that sounds like a pig grunt. Like most frogs in North America, the Pig Frog breeds from early spring to late summer. Generally, the frog breeds in permanent bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, and swamps but have been known to breed in ephemeral ponds, streams, and roadside ditches. Females can lay up to 15,000 eggs during a breeding season. The Pig Frog is mostly aquatic, only coming to the edge of bodies of water.

Frog of the Week

Granular Poison Frog (Oophaga granulifera)

granular.jpg
photo by Patrick Gijsbers

vulnerable
Common Name: Granular Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Oophaga granulifera
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Costa Rica and Panama
Size: .7 – .8 inches (18-22 mm)

The Granular Poison Frog is a diurnal (active during the day) species of frog. The males of the species are highly territorial in regards to their calling and breeding sites, even attacking other males. After breeding, the males will brood the eggs and keep them moist. After the eggs hatch, the females transport the tadpoles on their back to a water-filled plant. The females will lay unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles to feed on. The Granular Poison Frog is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation. Logging, agriculture, and expanding urbanization are causing this.

 

Frog of the Week

Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora)

photo by Walter Siegmund

least concern
Common Name: Northern Red-legged Frog
Scientific Name: Rana aurora
Family: Ranidae
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington
Size: 3.3 inches

The Northern Red-legged Frog is found along the western coast of North America. They breed from January to March depending on how far north they are located. Farther north they are, the later they breed. Egg masses from the frogs number between 300 and 5000 eggs. Eggs hatch in about a week into tadpoles. The tadpoles take 3 to 7 months to fully undergo metamorphosis. Some of the tadpoles take until the next spring to turn into frogs. Adult frogs can live up to 10 years.

Frog of the Week

Anaimalai Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pseudomalabaricus)

Rhacophorus pseudomalabaricus
photo by Kalyan Varma

CR
Common Name: Anaimalai Flying Frog, Anaimalai Gliding Frog, False Malabar Gliding Frog, False Malabar Tree Frog, and the Parachuting Frog
Scientific Name: Rhacophorus pseudomalabaricus
Family: Rhacophoridae – Asian Tree Frogs
Location: India
Size: 2.6 inches (66 mm) maximum size for females, 2 inches (50.5 mm) maximum for males

The Anaimalai Flying Frog is found in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Western Ghats of India in the tropical evergreen forests. As an semi arboreal species of frog, the Anaimalai Flying Frog is found in the lower canopy and under story levels of the forests. They do however come to the ground floor often and are often mushed by cars. The Anaimalai Flying Frogs is called a flying frog because they are able to glide from tree to tree thanks to their large webbed hands.

Mating

Mating for the frogs happens from June to October after the monsoon season. The female frogs create foam nests during breeding from mixing excretions with their hind legs. These nests help protect their eggs from drying out. After the mating, the females cover the nests with leaves, grass, or other vegetation to disguise them. The foam nests can be found from the ground floor of the forests up to 9 meters up and are found near or above streams or other water source.

Conservation Status

The Anaimalai Flying Frog was listed as a Critically Endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main threat to the frog is habitat loss due to clearing of land for plantations and timber harvesting. Also locals kill the frog because they believe it is a bad omen. Plantation owners believe that the frogs eat their fruit crop – the cardamom, so they offer rewards for killing the frog. It seems the locals need to be educated about the frog since they are carnivorous, not fruit eaters.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

IMG_0645
leastconcern
Common Name: Eastern Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
Family:  Ambystomatidae
Location: United States, Canada, and Mexico
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin
Size: around 8 inches

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is the most widespread salamander in North America, found from southern Canada down to northern Mexico, but it is hardly seen. The Tiger Salamander usually spends most of its life underground in burrows. The best options to see a wild one is either during / after rain or when they are breeding in water bodies. There are some Eastern Tiger Salamanders that are fully aquatic and neotenic, meaning they kept their larval features such as gills.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)


leastconcern

Common Name: Greater Siren
Scientific Name: Siren lacertina
Family: Sirenidae
Location: United State – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
Size: 3.2 feet or 98 cm

The Greater Siren (and all Sirens) is found in the Southeastern United States. It is the largest of all the sirens, with some reaching over 3 feet long. Just like all sirens, they lack hind legs but they still retain their gills into adulthood. Not much is known about the biology of the Greater Siren because of their secretive nature as they hide in burrows during the day and are slightly more active during the night.

 

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus)

photo by photo by V31S70

nearthreatened
Common Name: Japanese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias japonicus
Family: Cryptobranchidae
Location: Japan
Size: around 5 feet long

The Japanese Giant Salamander is the 2nd largest salamander in the world. It can reach around 5 feet long and can reach over 50 pounds. The salamander can live over 50 years old. The habitat of the Japanese Giant Salamander is threatened by dams and other projects so their numbers are dropping.

Spawning takes place during early fall. It can take 10 years for salamanders to reach reproductive maturity. Male Japanese Giant Salamanders try to find the best nesting sites and then will sit and protect them from other males. Females select the best nesting sites for their eggs and lay them there. The females can lay between 400 to 600 eggs at a time. The male then protects the eggs for up to 7 months.