Frog of the Week

Pacific Horned Frog (Ceratophrys stolzmanni)

Pacific Horned Frog
photo by Santiago Ron

Common Name: Pacific Horned Frog or Stolzmann’s Horned Frog
Scientific Name: Ceratophrys stolzmanni
Family: Ceratophryidae – Horned Frog family
Locations: Ecuador and Peru
Male Size: 1.8 – 2.6 inches (48 – 68 mm)
Female Size: 2 – 3.2 inches (53 – 82 mm)

The Pacific Horned Frog lives along the Pacific coast of southern Ecuador and the very northern coast of Peru. They don’t live a long life, only about 3 years. The frog is most active during the rainy season (January – May). They spend most of their time sitting still in the leaf litter, waiting for their prey to walk by. Their prey items is anything that they can fit into their mouth. The frogs do breed in temporary pools formed by the rains during the rainy season.

During the other parts of the year, they spend their time underground in a dormant state. They form a cocoon of dead skin around their body during this time to prevent them from drying out during the hot months.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Pacific Horned Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. A lot of the frog’s habitat has been lost to farms, urban areas, and logging.

Frog of the Week

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus)

Hot Creek Toad
photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Hot Creek Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus monfontanus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – Nevada
Size: 2.3 inches (60 mm)

The Hot Creek Toad is a new species to science. Once considered to be a population of the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), they were elevated to full species status in 2020. Like most toads, the Hot Creek Toad is nocturnal. Not much about its life history has been confirmed but its probably similar to the Western’s Toad

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the Hot Creek Toad. However, the toad is thought to be rather threatened. They live in a small area in the Hot Creek Canyon area.

Frog of the Week

Florida Bog Frog (Rana okaloosae)

Floridae Bog Frog
photo by Kevin Enge
vulnerable

Common Name: Florida Bog Frog
Scientific Name: Rana okaloosae
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: United States – Florida
Size: 1.3 – 1.9 inches (34 to 49 mm)

The Florida Bog Frog lives in bogs in the panhandle of Florida. They are the smallest species of True Frogs in the United States. The frogs have a brownish-yellow body with a yellow throat.

The frogs mate between April and August. During this time, males call out from shallows of water bodies to attract females. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Next, the female starts to lay her eggs and the males fertilize them. Neither parent provides any parental care.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Florida Bog Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. The frog is only found in a small drainage areas in the panhandle of Florida. These areas are threatened by poor watershed management, leading to excessive stream siltation. As well, they are also threatened by fire suppression, leading to oaks trees taking over the bogs they live in.

Frog of the Week

Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis)

Growling Grass Frog
photo by Tereza T

Common Name: Growling Grass Frog, Southern Bell Frog, Green and Gold Frog, and Warty Swamp Frog
Scientific Name: Litoria raniformis
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Australia and Tasmania
Introduced Locations: New Zealand
Size: 4 inches (10 cm)

The Growling Grass Frog lives along marshes, ponds, and dams in southeastern Australia and northern Tasmania. They have been introduced to New Zealand, where they have spread across the island. Due to the frog’s size, they are problematic to the native fauna of New Zealand. The frog gets its name from the growling sounds it makes. The name changes depending on their location, most often being called the Southern Bell Frog.

The males call from spring into summer (August to February) with the peaks from September to December. They hope to attract the females to the ponds. Once a female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female frog lay up to 400 eggs. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring. The tadpoles take 3 – 16 months to hatch, depending on location.

photo by Tnarg 12345

Growling Grass Frog Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Growling Grass Frog as Endangered. There are numerous reasons for the decline of the frog. Some blame the introduction of non-native fish such as Mosquitofish and carp, that feast upon the frog’s eggs. Another threat to looms over the frogs is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease. The disease has been found in populations of the Growling Grass Frog. Lastly, the destruction of the frog’s habitat is another key to their decline. With all these threats and the lack of support from Australia’s government, its hard to see a future for these frogs.

Frog of the Week

Golfodulcean Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates vittatus)

Golfodulcean Poison Dart Frog

Common Name: Golfodulcean Poison Dart Frog or Golfo Dulce Poison Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Phyllobates vittatus
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Costa Rica
Size: females up to 1.2 inches (31 mm); male up to 1 inches (26 mm)

The Golfodulcean Poison Dart Frog lives in the Golfo Dulce region of southwestern Costa Rica. They are a diurnal species of frog, active during the day. Their colors warn predators that the frogs are poisonous. Just like most Poison Dart Frogs, they accumulate their poison from the ants they eat. Therefore, in captivity, the frogs lose their toxins. They are common in the pet trade. If you are thinking about getting a pet frog, make sure to read my article Preparing for a Pet Frog or Toad. Its very informative.

Females are able to lay a clutch of eggs every week or two. The clutches usually contain between 7 to 21 eggs. The female lays her clutches on leaves of plants and the male watches over them. He will even pee on the eggs to keep them from drying out. Once the eggs hatch, the male carries the tadpoles on his back to small ponds for them to develop further.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Golfodulcean Poison Dart Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. They live in a small, severly fragmented area. Their habitat area is threatened by deforestation to make room for agriculture and tree plantations. Also, gold mining threatens their water.

Frog of the Week

White-lipped Thin-Toed Frog (Leptodactylus fragilis)

White-lipped Thin-Toed Frog
photo by Esteban Alzate
leastconcern


Common Name: White-lipped Thin-Toed Frog, Mexican White-Lipped Frog, and American White-Lipped Frog
Scientific Name: Leptodactylus fragilis
Family: Leptodactylidae
Location: United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela
US Locations: Texas
Introduced Locations: Cuba
Size: 1.2 – 2 inches (3 – 5 cm)

The White-lipped Thin-Toed Frog lives in a variety of habitats from savannahs to montane tropical forests. The frogs are often referred to as the Mexican White-Lipped Frog but they are found in a lot more places than just Mexico. Therefore, the name isn’t really fitting imo. The frogs feed on invertebrates such as spiders and beetles, mainly during the night, making them nocturnal.

The White-lipped Thin-Toed Frog breeds in spring following heavy rains. The males dig out a breeding spot under rocks or logs for mating. Next, he calls out for females in hopes of finding a mate. Once he finds the mate, he grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the male and female create a foamy nest made out of their secretions to house the eggs. The female lays between 20 and 250 egg. Neither parent provides any further care for the offspring. The nest keeps the eggs from drying out until the rains arrive. The rains fill the burrow and break the tadpoles out of the eggs. Then, the tadpoles taken under a month to turn into frogs.

White-lipped Thin-toed Frog Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the White-lipped Thin-Toed Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range, reaching from the top of Texas down into the northern parts of South America. The frogs are also thought to be abundant throughout the range.

Recently, scientists discovered the frog in Cuba, a place where they are not naturally found. Scientists and conservationists are worried about the effects these frogs can have on the native wildlife and frog populations of Cuba. Researchers believe that the frog can become invasive in Cuba if left unchecked.

Frog of the Week

European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea)

European Tree Frog
photo by Christian Fischer
least concern

Common Name: European Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla arborea
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog Family
Location: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Introduced Location: United Kingdom
Male Size: 1.3–1.7 inches (32 – 43 mm)
Female Size: 1.6 – 2.0 inches (40 – 50 mm)

The European Tree Frog lives throughout most of Europe and down to the northern parts of the Middle East. They prefer to live in broad-leafed and mixed forests, bushlands, meadows, and shrubland. The frogs vary in color from green, gray, brown, and yellowish.

Mating occurs between March and June. First, the males move to ponds, lakes, and other stagnant water bodies and start calling. Once a female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 200 – 2000 eggs. Neither parent provides any parental care. The eggs hatch into tadpoles in 10 – 14 days after being laid. Then, the tadpoles usually complete their metamorphosis in 3 months, peaking in July.

European Tree Frog
photo by wikiuser RobertC1301

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes he European Tree Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and are thought to be abundant throughout it. There are local population declines due to habitat loss from destroying forests to make room for urban development.

Frog of the Week

Japanese Common Toad (Bufo japonicus)

Japanese Common Toad
photo by Yasunori Koide 

Common Name: Japanese Common Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo japonicus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Japan
Size: 3.1 – 6.9 inches (80 – 176 mm)

The Japanese Common Toad lives on the islands of Kyusyu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, and Honshu of Japan. They have also been introduced to the island of Izu Oshima. Additionally, they live in a wide range of habitats from coastal areas to high in the mountains. The toads vary in color from a dark green, yellowish brown, to dark brown. Like most toads, they are active during the night and hide during the day.

Two subspecies of the toads are recognized by some researchers. The subspecies are the Eastern Japanese Common Toad (Bufo japonicus formosus) and the Western Japanese Common Toad (Bufo japonicus japonicus). The western subspecies is slightly larger than the eastern.

Mating

The breeding season for the toads is late winter / early spring from February to March. The toads migrate to ponds and swamps to breed. They use odor cues to find their way to these water bodies. In the pond, the males outnumber the females, leading to fighting and scrambling for a mate. The males try to grasp the females from behind in the amplexus position. Next, the female starts to lay her eggs. The females lay between 1,500-14,000 eggs. Then, the male fertilizes the eggs. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring. The eggs hatch into tadpoles shortly after. Then, the tadpoles complete their metamorphosis in June.

Conservation for the Japanese Common Toad

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Japanese Common Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species populations are decreasing but not at an alarming rate. The main cause of the declines is habitat loss from the urbanization of their land.

New Species

New Species of Salamander from North Carolina – Carolina Sandhills Salamander

Carolina Sandhills Salamander
Carolina Sandhills Salamander (Eurycea arenicola) – photo by L Todd Pusser

North Carolina is home to the most salamander species in the United States, a whopping 63 species! Now, thanks to researchers, the number moves up to 64! The southeastern United States, especially the Appalachian Mountain, is the salamander capitol of the world.

This discovery was 50 years in the making. An unusual salamander species was brought to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Originally, it was thought to be a weird Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera). More specimens were collected and curator Alvin Braswell thought it could be a new species. Sadly, he was too busy to pursue the research.

Southern Two-lined Salamander – photo by wikiuser Hargle

In comes Bryan Stuart, research curator of herpetology, who join the museum in 2008. Braswell told him of the salamander and wanted him to research it. Stuart was able to use next generation sequencer to determine that the species was new. He formally described the species as the Carolina Sandhills Salamander (Eurycea arenicola). The salamander is found near the seepages, springs and streams of the Sandhills of North Carolina. The Carolina Sandhills Salamander is red to orange in color. They don’t have a the dark band on its side like the Southern Two-lined Salamander do. These salamanders are pretty small ranging from 2.2 – 3.5 inches (56. -89.1 mm) from snout to tail.

You can read the full paper at https://bioone.org/journals/herpetologica/volume-76/issue-4/0018-0831-76.4.423/A-New-Two-Lined-Salamander-Eurycea-bislineata-Complex-from-the/10.1655/0018-0831-76.4.423.short

croctober

American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

American Crocodile
photo by wikiuser Mattstone911

Common Name: American Crocodile
Scientific Name: Crocodylus acutus
Family: Crocodylidae – Crocodile Family
Locations: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States, Venezuela, and Bolivia
US Location: Florida
Average Male Size: 9.5 – 13.1 feet (2.9 – 4 meters)
Average Female Size: 8.2 – 9.8 feet (2.5 -3 meters)
Maximum Size: 20 feet (6.1 meters)

The American Crocodile has the most widespread range of any crocodile in the Americas. They reach from southern Florida, through Central America, and down to northern South America. They live in fresh or brackish water of estuaries, lagoons, and mangrove swamps.

The American Crocodile breeds during the dry season. The males are highly territorial and fight other males for the best land. The courtship and breeding takes place in the water. The male’s main advertisement to females is 1 to 3 headslaps. If this is acceptable for the female, then she either puts her head on his back / head or performs some snout lifts. Next, the male lets out a low frequency noise that makes water blow up off of his back, called water dancing. Finally, the two mate in the shallows.

The female builds their nests on elevated, well drained soil. The female lays between 30 – 60 eggs. Temperature determines the sex of the offspring. Temperatures between 88- 91° F (31.1 – 32.7° C) produce mostly male offspring. Meanwhile, temperatures lower than 88° F (31.1° C) result in mostly females. The female parent protect the nest from scavengers such as raccoons and iguanas. The eggs hatch in 75 – 80 days at the start of the wet season. The female helps dig ups the hatched babies and carries them to the water.

American Crocodile Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the American Crocodile as Vulnerable to Extinction. The Croc’s populations has improved than it previously had been. It was listed as Endangered before conservation work was done to help save them. Unfortunately, they were over-hunted for their hides before being listed on the US Endangered Species List in the 1970s. However, they moved from listed as federally endangered to federally threatened. Protections are still in place to help conserve the species from overharvesting. Unfortunately, their habitat is under threat of destruction to make room for more urban areas.