Frog of the Week

Strecker’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris streckeri)

Strecker's Chorus Frog
photo by Ashley Tubbs

Common Name: Strecker’s Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris streckeri
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas
Size: 1.88 inches (48 mm)

While the Strecker’s Chorus Frog is a member of the tree frog family, it spends most of its time burrowed underground. They use their front legs to dig which is unusual for frogs and toads. The best time to see them is during their breeding season in late winter and spring. The frogs breed in ditches, ponds, vernal ponds, and flooded fields. The males call out from the shallows of these water bodies in hopes of attracting female frogs. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them.

The Strecker’s Chorus Frog and the Illinois Chorus Frog used to be one species before being separated into two separate ones.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Strecker’s Chorus Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frogs have a wide range and presumed large population. Biggest threats to them is the draining of wetlands to make room for more development.

Frog of the Week

Spotted Poison Frog (Ranitomeya vanzolinii)

Spotted Poison Frog
photo by John P Clare

Common Name: Spotted Poison Frog and Brazilian Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Ranitomeya vanzolinii
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Brazil and Peru
Size: 0.65 – 0.74 inches (16.7 – 19 mm)

The Spotted Poison Frog is an arboreal poison dart frog, primarily living at least 6 feet (2 meters) off the ground. Juvenile frogs on the species can be found in the leaf litter.

The frogs mate in tree holes that are partially filled with water. If more than one egg is laid, male waits for the eggs to hatch and then carries each tadpole to its own tree cavity. Then, the male guides the female to each cavity where she lays unfertilized eggs for the tadpole to each.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Spotted Poison Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population.

The species is named after Paulo Vanzolini, a Brazilian herpetologist and music composer, specially sambas.

Frog of the Week

Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog (Triprion petasatus)

Yucatecan Casquehead Treefrog
photo by Maximilian Paradiz

Common Name: Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog, Yucatán Casque-headed Treefrog,
Scientific Name: Triprion petasatus
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico
Female Size: 2.6 – 3 inches (65 mm – 75.2 mm)
Male Size 1.9 – 2.4 inches (48.1 mm – 60.8 mm)

The Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog lives throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, spending most of its time in holes in trees. Their unique head shape is used to block the entrances to these holes and due to the ossification of their head, they lose very little water this way compared to frogs blocking the holes with their body. The frog breeds during the rainy season from April to October. The males will call from around 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) above the ground near pools and basins formed in limestone. Their call sounds like a duck’s quack. The female lays her eggs in these basins.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Yucatecan Casquehead Tree Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a large population.

Frog of the Week

Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne mazatlanensis)

Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad
photo by Jim Rorabaugh

Common Name: Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad or Sinaloan Narrow-mouthed Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne mazatlanensis
Family: Microhylidae
Locations: Mexico and the United States – Arizona
Size: 1.6 inches (4 cm)

The Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad was originally thought to be its own species before researchers merged it into the Great Plains Narrowed Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea). It sat as a subspecies for over 50 years before researchers decided to elevated back to its own species. Not much is known to be different in its life history than the Great Plains Narrowed Mouth Toad and it seems no one has really tried to study it. They spend most of their life underground which also doesn’t help with knowing what they are doing. However, the toads come to the surface to breed. They breed following the heavy spring and summer rains.

The International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the toad.

Frog of the Week

Veragua Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus cruciger)

Veragua Stubfoot Toad
photo by Indiana Cristo

Common English Name: Veragua Stubfoot Toad and Rancho Grande Harlequin Frog
Local Name: Sapito Rayado
Scientific Name: Atelopus cruciger
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Venezuela
Male Size: 1.1 – 1.3 inches (28.2–34.6 mm)
Female Size: 1.5 – 2 inches (39.5–49.9 mm)

The toads mate during the dry season, where they can be found on rocks and vegetation near fast moving streams. The males call out for the females and when the females arrive, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female carries the male over to the stream. Amplexus can last up to 19 days for the species. Next, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 150 – 270 eggs in several clutches. The eggs hatch into tadpoles that use their abdominal suckers to attach to rocks in the fast moving stream.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Veragua Stubfoot Toad as Critically Endangered. The toads have disappeared from nearly all of its range. The culprit is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen. Luckily, a few populations of the toad remain in some national parks and are surviving against the disease.

Frog of the Week

Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina)

Agile Frog
photo by Simon J. Tonge

Common Name: Agile Frog
Scientific Name: Rana dalmatina
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
Introduced Locations: Belgium
Size: 3.14 inches (8 cm)

The Agile Frog lives throughout most of Europe besides the northern regions.

The breeding season starts shortly after the frogs awake from their hibernation (between February and March) and lasts until April. Males gather in large groups in the shallows of water bodies to call. Once the female arrives, the males try to grasp the female behind in the amplexus position. The female frog lays between 450 – 1800 eggs. The tadpoles usually take 2 to 4 months to complete their metamorphosis but have been known stay as tadpoles over winter and complete it in spring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Agile Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are numerous throughout it. Though in some areas of its range, it has been harder to find due to draining of wetlands and cutting down woodlands they call home. On the isle of Jersey, the frogs are considered critically endangered and they have even re-introduced the species there.

Frog of the Week

Spotted Snout Burrower (Hemisus guttatus)

Spotted Snout-Burrower
photo by Wayne Sullivan Rawlinson

Common Name: Spotted Snout Burrower
Scientific Name: Hemisus guttatus
Family: Hemisotidae – Shovel-Nosed Frog Family
Locations: South Africa
Size: 3 inches (80 mm)

The Spotted Snout Burrower lives in the loose, sandy soils in the grasslands and savannas of the South Africa. The frog starts to breed at the start of the rainy season. The male will grab the female from behind in the amplexus position while the female digs a burrow. The female lays her eggs in the burrow and the male fertilizes them.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Spotted Snout Burrower as Near Threatened with Extinction. Although the frog is wide spread, decreases in quality habitat is causing population declines. Also, the species habitat is severely fragmented.

Frog of the Week

Boie’s Frog (Proceratophrys boiei)

Boie's Frog
photo by João P. Burini 

Common English Names: Boie’s Frog or Rio de Janeiro’s Smooth Horned Frog
Scientific Name: Proceratophrys boiei
Family: Odontophrynidae
Locations: Brazil
Size: 1.5 – 2.9 inches (40 – 74 mm)

The Boie’s Frog lives in the Atlantic rain forest and other primary and secondary forests of eastern Brazil. They are often found in leaf litter near streams.

When threatened, the Boie’s Frog flattens its body and stiffens its arms out to their side. Researchers believe that this helps the frog better mimic a dead leaf on the ground.

Males call from September to January, end of the rainy season. Eggs are laid in swamps or streams.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Boie’s Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and a presumed large population. Primary threat to the frog is deforestation to make room for more farms, cattle grazing areas, and human settlements,

Frog of the Week

San Jose Cochran Frog (Cochranella euknemos)

San Jose Cochran Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: San Jose Cochran Frog
Scientific Name: Cochranella euknemos
Family: Centrolenidae – Glass Frog family
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama
Female Size: 1.0 – 1.25 inches (25 – 32 mm)
Male Size: 0.8 – 1.0 inches (21 – 25 mm)

The San Jose Cochran Frog lives on trees and other vegetation near streams in lowland, premontane, and montane forests. Their translucent skin helps them hide on leaves during the day. The frogs breed during the rainy season. The males call from branches over hanging streams.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List assesses the San Jose Cochran Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog is common in Colombia but rare in Costa Rica and Panama. The major threat to the species is deforestation.

Frog of the Week

Fiji Tree Frog (Cornufer vitiensis)

Fiji Tree Frog
Fiji tree frog by Tamara.osborne

Common Name: Fiji Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Cornufer vitiensis
Family: Ceratobatracidae
Locations: Fiji – Islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau, and possibly Taveuni
Male Size: 1.25 – 1.7 inches (32 – 45 mm)
Female Size: 1.8 – 2.3 inches (47 – 60 mm)

The Fiji Tree Frog is one of the two native frogs to the islands of Fiji with the other being the Fiji Ground Frog (Cornufer vitianus). As you can tell by their names, the Fiji Tree Frog lives in trees and other vegetation, often near streams.

The frog breeds all year round but is most active breeding from December to March. The Fiji Frog is one of the few species where both the male and the female call for males. Amplexus for the species is inguinal, where the male grabs the female by her things. Twenty to forty eggs are laid in leaf axils, where they will hatch directly into tiny frogs, skipping a free larval tadpole phase.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Fiji Tree Frog as Near Threatened with Extinction. Habitat loss is the number one issue for the frog. The forests that they live in are being cut down for lumber and to make room for more farms and urban areas.