Frog of the Week

Eungella Torrent Frog (Taudactylus eungellensis)

Eungella Torrent Frog
photo by Geordie Torr

Common Name: Eungella Torrent Frog and Eungella Day Frog
Scientific Name: Taudactylus eungellensis
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog Family
Locations: Australia
Size: 1.25 – 1.45 inches (32 – 37 mm)

The Eungella Torrent Frog lives near streams in rain forests and sclerophyll forests of the Eungella National Forest in Queensland. They are most active during the day (diurnal) but they do also call at night. The females are larger than the males, a common trait in frogs and toads.

The breeding season takes place from spring to fall. The males call out to attract the females to them. The female lays between 30 – 50 eggs under rocks in the water.

Conservation of the Eungella Torrent Frog

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Eungella Torrent Frog as a Critically Endangered species. Once considered a common species, the frog’s populations have been declining. This is primarily due to Chytrid Fungus, a deadly disease for frogs and toads. The disease thickens the skin of the frog, making it harder for the frog to transport nutrients so they then die. There has been suggestions for the reason for decline such as habitat loss and invasive species, but there is no evidence to confirm these claims.

Frog of the Week

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (Rana kauffeldi)

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog
photo by Brian R Curry

Common Name: Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog or Mid-Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Rana kauffeldi
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: United States – Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia
Size: 5.1 inches (13 cm)

The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog lives near coastal habitats. The majority of the species lives within 13 miles of the coast. The frog is relatively new species to western science, only being described in 2014. The species epithet is named after herpetologist Carl Kauffeld who wrote a paper about how he believed there was a third species of leopard frog in Staten Island way back in the 30s. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List didn’t give the frog a conservation status yet due to it being so new. The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog looks similar to other leopard frogs. They have less and small spots on their dorsal than the other leopard frogs.

The frogs breed in the winter and early spring, usually February or March. The more south the species lives, the earlier it breeds. The males gather in groups and call out from shallow water bodies to attract the female frogs. Once the female frogs arrive, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays around a thousand eggs. Neither of the parents provide any care for their offspring.

Frog of the Week

Common Mexican Tree Frog (Smilisca baudinii)

Common Mexican Tree Frog
photo by Todd Pierson

Common Name: Common Mexican Tree Frog or Baudin’s Tree Frog 
Scientific Name: Smilisca baudinii
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States
US Location: Texas
Male Size: 3.77 inches (96 mm)
Female Size: 3 inches (76 mm)

The Common Mexican Tree Frog is found from the tip of Texas almost all the way through Central America. It seems like it be better to be named the Central American Tree Frog. They are the largest native tree frog to the United States, Cuban Tree Frogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) are larger but are not native. This tree frog has a special gift. During the hot summer, the frog will make a cocoon around its body to keep itself from drying out.

The frogs breed at anytime of the year following enough rain fall. Breeding for the Common Mexican Tree Frog is pretty standard. The males migrate to shallows of water bodies and start to call. Once the female shows up, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 2,500-3,500 eggs.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The state of Texas lists them as a Threatened Species but there is no federal listing. In Texas, there are only small isolated populations of the frog while south of the border, the frog is very common.

Frog of the Week

New Jersey Chorus Frog (Pseudacris kalmi)

Two New Jersey Chorus Frogs
photo by Will Lattea

Common Name: New Jersey Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris kalmi
Family: Hylidae– Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia
Size: 1.1 – 1.4 inches (28 – 36 mm)

The New Jersey Chorus Frog lives mostly in marshes, meadows, and woodlands. Like many of the Chorus Frog in the US, they have 3 pronounced lines that run down their back. Even though they are part of the Tree Frog family, most chorus frogs spend most of their time on the ground or very low to the ground vegetation;

The breeding season lasts from February to June. The frogs mate in temporary ponds created by the melting snow. First, the male calls out to attract the females. Next, the female arrives and the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 8 and 143 eggs. Neither parent will look after their eggs or offspring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the New Jersey Chorus Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. This is due to the frog having a decent range, presumed large population, and being very tolerable to habitat modification. However, they are listed as a endangered species in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and a Species of Greatest Conservation Need-Tier 4a in Virginia.

Frog of the Week

Cave Coqui (Eleutherodactylus cooki)

Cave Coquí
photo by Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Cave Coqui, Puerto Rican Cave Frog, Puerto Rican Demon, and Coquí Guajón
Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus cooki
Family: Eleutherodactylidae
Locations: Puerto Rico
Size: 3.3 inches (8.5 cm)

The Cave Coqui lives in caves, rock grottos, and rocky stream beds. The females are larger than the males. The males have a yellow colored throat and down to the belly. During the mating season (summer and fall), the frogs mate and lay their eggs on boulder surfaces. The female lays on average 17 eggs. The males provide parental care for their eggs by guarding them. The male doesn’t stop mating when protecting the eggs. Its been shown that the males can protect up to 4 different female’s nests. The eggs are direct developing, so once the egg hatches, a froglet comes out, skipping the tadpole stage.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Cave Coqui as Endangered. The United States federal government only lists the species as threatened. They only live in a small area in the southeastern part of Puerto Rico. Human development threatens the frog’s habitat. Also, tick and Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease, are also harming the frogs.

Researcher Samantha Shablin, a Phd Student at the University of Florida, hopes to help protect the Cave Coqui. She fundraising for her research project that aims to understand how the frogs are responding to parasitic and environmental threats. You can help fund this project by donating at https://experiment.com/projects/how-are-cave-dwelling-amphibians-responding-to-parasitic-and-environmental-threats

New Species

2 New Species of Waterdogs

The Waterdogs are fully aquatic species of salamanders that are paedomorphic. This means that they retain their larval characteristics (gills, etc) throughout their life. They are often mysterious, often living at the bottom of drainages, ponds, and lakes.

Researchers, Craig Guyer, Christopher M. Murray, Henry Bart, Brian I. Crother, Ryan E. Chabarria, Mark A. Bailey, and Khorizon Dunn, have described two new Waterdog species from the southeastern United States. You can read the article here. The two waterdogs were considered to be Gulf Coast Waterdog (Necturus beyeri) but they are physically different than it. Also the researchers suggest changing the name of the Gulf Coast Waterdog to the Western Waterdog.

Escambia Waterdog – photo by Craig Guyer

The first of the new species is the Escambia Waterdog (Necturus mounti). The larvae lacks white spots which differs from the Gulf Coast Waterdog. The adults lack spots on their mandible chin and on the sides of their belly. Their belly is a bright white color as well.

Apalachicola Waterdog – photo by Craig Guyer

The second of the species is the Apalachicola Waterdog (Necturus moleri). They as well lack white spots on their larvae that differs it from the Gulf Coast Waterdog. The adults have spots on their mandible chin and on the sides of their belly. Their belly is dull white in color. Both of the new species can be found around the Florida – Alabama border.

Uncategorized

Two New Toad Species from the Western USA

Two new species of true toads from the family Bufonidae, the True Toad family was discovered in the state of Nevada in the United States. They were confused with the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), very much like the newly discovered Dixie Valley Toad (Anaxyrus williamsi). Researchers, Michelle R. GordonEric T. SimandleFranziska C. SandmeierC. Richard Tracy, performed genetic testings to discover the new species.

photo by M. R. Gordon

 Railroad Valley Toad (Anaxyrus nevadensis)

The name of the toad comes from the area it was found, the Railroad Valley. They are a rather small toad, averaging only 2.5 inches long. Another distinguishable trait of the Railroad Valley Toad is their mottled stomach.

photo by M. R. Gordon

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus)

Just like the Railroad Valley Toad, the Hot Creek Toad is named after the area that they are found in. They are smaller than the Railroad Valley Toad, only averaging around 2.3 inches (59.6 mm). The Hot Creek Toad has rather larger parotoid glands (ball behind the eye) for such a small toad.

The life history of the toads are not much different than the most other toads. They are nocturnal, emerging from their burrows at night to hunt and eat.

You can read the full scientific paper here – https://bioone.org/journals/Copeia/volume-108/issue-1/CH-18-086/Two-New-Cryptic-Endemic-Toads-of-Bufo-Discovered-in-Central/10.1643/CH-18-086.full

Frog of the Week

Three-striped Poison Frog (Ameerega trivittata)

photo by Geoff Gallice 

Common Name: Three-striped Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Ameerega trivittata
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela
Size: 2 inches (50 mm) for females, 1.65 inches (42 mm)

The Three-striped Poison Frog is a diurnal species of frog found among the leaf litter in tropical rain forests. They are able to be active during the day thanks to their bright colors and their poison. The bright colors warn predators not to eat them due to their poison. They obtain their toxicity from the ants they eat in the wild. The stripes on the frog vary in color from green, yellow-green, yellow, to orange. Their beautiful colors make them attractive to pet owners. They lose their toxicity in captivity, making them safe. Always make sure to buy captive bred frogs from reputably breeders.

Reproduction happens year round but reaches its peak during the rainy season from May to October. Males will stake out territory on perches above the ground. The males will fight other males who enter their territory. Females select males on how long they have called on their territory and how large the territory is. Once the female selects a mate, the male will grasp the female from behind in amplexus. The female will lay the eggs under leaves and the male will then fertilize them. Females will lay between 15 – 30 eggs at a time.

photo by Shawn Mallan

The males of the species provide parental care for their offspring. The males will carry recently hatched tadpoles to water sources for them to live in until they complete their metamorphosis. The male will keep them on their backs for days until they find a spot. It takes the tadpoles between 41 to 54 days to complete their metamorphosis.

Uncategorized

Chile Mountains False Toad (Telmatobufo venustus)

photo by wikiuser Cipsdesign 
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Chile Mountains False Toad
Scientific Name: Telmatobufo venustus
Family: Calyptocephalellidae
Locations: Chile
Size: 2.8 inches (71 mm)

The Chile Mountains False Toad gets its name from its large, oval paratoid glands that make it look like a toad. They are found along the western slopes of the Chilean Andes, living up to a mile ( 1,700 metres) above sea level. There are only three known locations of the frogs. The frogs are found along rocks surrounding streams.

The Chile Mountains False Toad is listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Much of its habitat has been converted into pine and eucalyptus plantations. Electric dams have been built in parts that haven’t been converted. Also trouts have been introduced into water bodies that the frogs live in. These trouts eat the frogs and their tadpoles. The only stable populations of the frog are found in the Altos de Lircay National Reserve. Better protection of the frog and their habitat is needed to save them.

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Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)

photo by Todd Pierson

Common Name: Little Grass Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ocularis
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: .4 – .7 inches (11 – 20 mm)

The Little Grass Frog is the smallest frog in all of North America. While it is technically in the Tree Frog family – Hylidae, they are not as arboreal as other species of tree frogs. They can still climb up to 5 feet high.

Breeding takes place for the Little Grass Frog from January to September in most of their range but in Florida, they can breed all year long. Breeding generally follows heavy rain events. They lay their eggs in shallow, rain-filled wetlands, ditches, and ponds. Reproduction is pretty standard for the frog. Males will call out from the rain-filled areas, trying to attract females. Females will select a male and then they will mate. The females lay around 100 eggs. How do these females carry all those eggs at their small size? I don’t know. Neither of the parents will perform any care for their offspring.