Toad Tuesday

Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus)

photo by William Flaxington

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Yosemite Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus canorus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – California
Size: 3.3 inches (84 mm)

The Yosemite Toad is found in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range at elevations between 8,500-10,000 feet. These toads are a diurnal species, active during the day compared to most toads that are nocturnal. They are a relatively long lived species, capable of living 15 years. The trade-off is that toads take a while to reach sexual maturity, over 3 years. Breeding season is from May to August. Typical breeding sites are shallow pools and small, slow moving streams. Females can lay up between 15000 to 2000 eggs. These females do not mate every year, another trade-off from their long lives. The males and female toads look very different compared to each other.

The Yosemite Toad is listed as a federally threatened species by the United States government. It is most likely going to be added to the endangered species list. There are a lot of reasons for the decline in the toads. Habitat degradation by cattle grazing is one of the main reasons. Other reasons include the introduction of non-native game fish, droughts increased by climate change, and possibly climate change. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) designated 1.8 million acres of land as a protected area for the Yosemite Toad and other threatened species.


Romeo, the Sehuencas Water Frog, finds his Juliet

photo by Robin Moore

Have you heard of Romeo, the world’s loneliest frog? Romeo is a Sehuencas Water Frog (Telmatobius yuracare), an aquatic frog species only found in Bolivia,and was thought to be the last of his species. He has been alone in the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny in Bolivia for 10 years. Romeo’s home habitat has been lost and damaged due to agriculture and logging. Water pollution, Chytrid fungus, a deadly disease for frogs, and invasive trouts all don’t help the frogs either. The future is not looking great for the Sehuencas Water Frogs.

Scientists with the help of  the Global Wildlife Conservation and the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny, set up a profile page for Romeo to help raise funds to find him a lover. On Tuesday, Teresa Camacho Badani, the chief Herpetology of the Museum, announced that they have found Romeo his Juliet. Besides just finding a Juliet, they found four other frogs, including another female. The new frogs are currently in quarantine so that they get used to their new habitat and to insure that they are disease free. They plan to introduce Romeo and Juliet on Valentine’s Day and hopefully, they will start breeding. The scientists hope to help re-establish populations of the Sehuencas Water Frog with a captive breeding program.

turtle tuesday

Turtle Trouble

Everyone loves turtles with their cute little shells but did you know that many turtles are in serious trouble? There are 243 living species of turtles and 154 of them are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as vulnerable or worse. That’s 63% of them that are close to becoming extinct. Why are turtle populations in troubles? There are many plenty of reasons including habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and harvesting for consumption, pet trade, and medicine.

Family Friday

Harlequin Toads (Atelopus)

Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Number of Species: 97
Location: Central and South America

The members of the genus Atelopus are commonly referred to as the Harlequin Toads or Stubfoot Toads. There are many members of the genus but the majority of them are endangered of becoming extinct. Many species in the genus haven’t been seen in decades. The main culprit of their status is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen that affects amphibians. Also habitat lose, pollution, and invasive species are also not helping these toads. These toads are often brightly colored and beautiful so it would be shame if they went extinct.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Helen Meredith


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.



Frog of the Week

Patagonia Frog (Atelognathus patagonicus)

Photo by Boris Blotto

Common Name: Patagonia Frog
Scientific Name: Atelognathus patagonicus
Family: Batrachylidae
Location: Argentina
Size: 2 inches or 50 mm

The Patagonia Frog has two different forms, an aquatic one and a land form. The aquatic form has  smooth and looser skin than the land form which has more rough, tight skin. The aquatic form also have a orange coloration to their stomach from their different diet from the land form. The aquatic form eats more amphipods from the waters that carotenoids which give the orange hue.

The Patagonia Frog is endangered because of numerous threats. Both Chytrid Fungus and Ranavirus have been problems for the frog. Introduced fish (perch, trouts, and salmons) have also been lame and been eating the frogs.

Family Friday


Number of Genera: 1 – Telmatobius
Number of Species: 62

Telmatoibiidae is a new family of frogs from South America. They are found up high in the Andes Mountain Range. The family used to be part of the family Leptodactylidae before being moved to it’s own family in 2011. Many of the members of the family are semi aquatic and some are even fully aquatic such as the Lake Titicaca Water Frog. Many of the members of the family are threatened with extinction from Chytrid Fungus, habitat destruction, and invasive trouts.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: David Steen Ph.D


The goal of Herper of the Week is to highlight people from all walks of life who work with reptiles and amphibians and show their work to others. This week’s Herper of the Week is David Steen Ph.D. Steen is an assistant research professor at Auburn University. He obtained his Ph.D from Auburn too.

David Steen’s research focuses on restoring habitat for reptiles and trying to have reptiles and people can coexist. One project he is currently working on is the re-introduction of the Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) in the Conecuh National Forest in Alabama.

David Steen has been named the best biologist on twitter by His science communication work is amazing. He helps identify snakes especially helping people tell the difference between Copperheads (venomous snake) and non-venomous snakes (#notacopperhead).

You can follow him on various social media accounts.

You can help him out by becoming a patron of him