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.

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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.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Banna Caecilian (Ichthyophis bannanicus)

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leastconcern
Common Name: Banna Caecilian
Scientific Name: Ichthyophis bannanicus
Family: Ichthyophiidae
Location: China, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar
Size: 14.9 inches / 38 mm long

Like most caecilians, not that much is known about the Banna Caecilian because of their secret, burrowing life style. The adult form of the Banna Caecilian is terrestrial while the larval form is aquatic. The adults spend their time digging in the dirt on the forest floor. Females dig a hole near water in April and May and lay 30ish eggs in there. The eggs hatch and the larva moves over to the water to live until they reach adulthood.

Frogs of the World

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Limnonectes_blythii_from_Thailand
photo by Psumuseum

nearthreatened
Common Name: Blyth’s River Frog, Giant Asian River Frog, or Blyth’s Wart Frog
Scientific Name: Limnonectes blythii
Family: Dicroglossidae
Location: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
Size: females can real 10.2 inches / 25.9 cm while males only reach 4.9 inches / 12.4 cm long

The Blyth’s River Frog is the largest frog in all of Asia. Their large size has its downsides, as people over harvested them for food as they can weigh more than 2 pounds.

The courtship behavior of Blyth’s River Frog is different. Instead of males calling for the females, the females call. The male also creates a hollow in the stream for the females to lay their eggs.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Helen Meredith

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Each week I select a “Herper” of the Week. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphbians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

This week’s Herper of the Week is Dr. Helen Meredith, the Executive Director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA). She earned her Ph.D from the  Institute of Zoology (ZSL) and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. Her thesis was focused on developing evidence-based conservation decision making practices.

Before becoming the Executive Director of the ASA, she coordinated the EDGE Amphibians initiative at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). EDGE is a global conservation initiative that focuses on threatened species that have unique evolutionary histories. It is a wonderful program.

 

 

Family Friday

Rhinatrematidae – American Tailed Caecilians

Epicrionops_sp
photo from Leandro J.C.L. Moraes, Alexandre P. de Almeida, Rafael de Fraga, Rommel R. Zamora, Renata M. Pirani, Ariane A.A. Silva, Vinícius T. de Carvalho, Marcelo Gordo, Fernanda P. Werneck.

Number of Genera: 2 – Epicrionops and Rhinatrema
Number of Species: 11

The family Rhinatrematidae is one of the most ancient families of caecilians. Members of the species still have ancient traits such as true tails and terminal positioned mouth. They are found in northern South America.

The members of the genus Epicrionops is known as the beaked caecilians while the members of the genus Rhinatrema is known as the two lined caecilians.

Frog of the Week

Muller’s Termite Frog (Dermatonotus muelleri)

Dermatonotus_muelleri01.jpg
photo by Diogo B. Provete

leastconcern

Common Name: Muller’s Termite Frog
Scientific Name: Dermatonotus muelleri
Family: Microhylidae
Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay
Max Size: 2 inches, 50 mm

Muller’s Termite Frog is a burrowing (fossorial) frog found in South America.  It is the only species in its genus. Their diet consists of termites. When they come to the surface to breed during the rainy season, thousands of males can be heard calling. They reproduce and lay their eggs in water bodies that are shallow. These frogs can be found in the pet trade.