Frog of the Week

Iberian Midwife Toad (Alytes cisternasii)

Iberian Midwife Toad
photo by Benny Trapp

Common Name: Iberian Midwife Toad
Scientific Name: Alytes cisternasii
Family: Alytidae – Midwife Toad and Painted Frog family
Locations: Portugal and Spain
Size: Males – 1.4 inches (36 mm) | Females 1.7 inches (42 mm)

The Iberian Midwife Toad lives in the drier scrub-like environment of eastern Portugal and western Spain. The toad is rather fossorial, burrowing down into this loose dry soil.

Mating season lasts from September to March, peaking around October and November. The males call out every night on land to attract the females. Once the female arrives, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Next, she lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Now comes the interesting part. The male wraps the egg mass around his legs. He can then go out and mate with more females, capable of carrying up to 4 clutches at a time.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Iberian Midwife Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species has a wide range and are thought to be numerous throughout it. In some areas, the toads are disappearing due to destruction of their habitat.

Frog of the Week

Black-spotted Casque-headed Tree Frog (Trachycephalus nigromaculatus)

Black-spotted Casque-headed Tree Frog
photo by Renato Augusto Martins

Common Name: Black-spotted Casque-headed Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Trachycephalus nigromaculatus
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Location: Brazil
Size: 3.14 – 3.62 inches (8 – 9.2 cm)

The Black-spotted Casque-headed Tree Frog lives in bromeliads or hollowed out tree branches in the primary and secondary forests as well as the coastal scrubs of southeastern Brazil.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and very common throughout it. Potential threat to the species is habitat loss from cutting down the forests they live in to make room for cities and farms.

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

Madagascar Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis madagascariensis)

Madagascar Bright-eyed Frog
photo by Charles J Sharp

Common Name: Madagascar Bright-eyed Frog
Scientific Name: Boophis madagascariensis
Family: Mantellidae
Locations: Madagascar
Size: 2.3 – 3.1 inches (60 – 80 mm)

The Madagascar Bright-eyed Frog lives in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar. Often found during the day on vegetation and in bamboo tree holes.

During the mating season, the males call out loudly to attract females. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female frog lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female can lay at least 400 eggs at a time.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Madagascar Bright-eyed Frog as Least Concern with Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are thought to be numerous throughout it. The major threat to these guys is the destruction of their habitat for agriculture, timber harvesting,

Frog of the Week

Sambava Tomato Frog (Dyscophus guineti)

Sambava Tomato Frog
photo by TimVickers

Common Name: Sambava Tomato Frog or False Tomato Frog
Scientific Name: Dyscophus guineti
Family: Microhylidae
Locations: Madagascar
Male Size: 2.3 – 2.5 inches (60 – 65 mm)
Female Size 3.5 – 3.7 inches (90 – 95 mm)

The Sambava Tomato Frog lives in the eastern tropical rain forest of Madagascar. They live amongst the leaf litter on the ground and are close to slow moving streams in which they breed in. The females of the species are more bright red in color while the males are more yellow / orange.

Most of the Tomato Frogs in the pet trade are actually Sambava Tomato Frogs. There are really only a few differences between the species but the regular Tomato Frog  (Dyscophus antongilii) are more endangered than the false ones.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide rage and a presumed large population. The main problem the frogs face is deforestation of the forests that they call home to make room for houses and farms.

Frog of the Week

Red-backed Poison Dart Frog (Ranitomeya reticulata)

Red-backed Poison Dart Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: Red-backed Poison Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Ranitomeya reticulata
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Ecuador and Peru
Size: 0.5 – 0.6 inches (13 – 17 mm)

The Red-backed Poison Dart Frog live amongst the leaf litter in the tropical rainforests. They are the smallest species in their genera, not even reaching an inch long. Perfect for hiding amongst the leaves.

Mating for the frog is interesting. The female lays her eggs amongst the leaf litter. She only lays two or three eggs in total. Once the eggs hatch, the male carries the tadpole to bromeliad to live in until it completes its metamorphosis. In some captive breeding colonies, the female frog has laid unfertilized eggs for the tadpoles to eat.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Red-backed Poison Dart Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are numerous throughout. The main threat to the frog is habitat loss due to deforestation. Another threat is over-harvesting for the pet trade but people have had success captive breeding the species so it isn’t as big as a problem.

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

Maranon Poison Frog (Excidobates mysteriosus)

Maranon Poison Frog
photo by Henk Wallays
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Maranon Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Excidobates mysteriosus
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Peru
Size: 1.06 – 1.14 inches (27 – 29 mm)

The Maranon Poison Frog lives in scrub forests in eastern Peru. Like most members of the family Dendrobatidae, the frog has bright colors that warn predators that they are poisonous. This allows them to be active during the day. They spend most of their time near water holding bromeliads. The males even call from the bromeliads. The male moves the eggs into separate bromeliad water spots.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categories the Maranon Poison Frog as Endangered. Humans destroyed most of the habitat to make room for cities and coffee farms. Now, the frog only lives in 3 small forest areas. Luckily, conservation groups have bought these areas to protect them. Still, smugglers are taking the frogs for the illegal pet trade. The species has reproduced in captivity.

Frog of the Week

Talamanca Horned Tree Frog (Hemiphractus elioti)

Talamanca Horned Tree Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: Talamanca Horned Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hemiphractus elioti
Family: Hemiphractidae – Marsupial Frog family
Locations: Panama
Max Size: males – 2 inches (52.5 mm), females – 2.5 inches (64.7 mm)

The Talamanca Horned Tree Frog lives in the pre-montane primary forests in the Cordillera de Talamanca. They lives on the forest floor up to 3 feet (1 meter) off the ground in vegetation. Their coloration and weird head shape allows them to camouflage in perfectly.

The frog is a relatively new species to science, only being described in 2018. Before that, it was considered to part of the Banded Horned Tree Frog (Hemiphractus fasciatus) but there was small differences in their mouths between the species. They are both members of the family Hemiphractidae – the Marsupial Frog family. The members of the family carry their eggs on their back in various ways. The females of the Talamanca Horned Frog carry their eggs directly on their back until the eggs hatch into small froglets.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not evaluated the conservation status of the Talamanca Horned Tree Frog yet. However, the Banded Horned Tre Frog is categorized as Near Threatened. The primary threat to the frog is deforestation to make room for farms and towns. Luckily, there are captive populations of the frog that have been successful breeding.

Frog of the Week

Red Pumpkin Toadlet (Brachycephalus pitanga)

Red Pumpkin Toadlet
photo by Carlos Henrique Luz Nunes de Almeida

Common Name: Red Pumpkin Toadlet
Scientific Name: Brachycephalus pitanga
Family: Brachycephalidae – Saddleback Toads
Locations: Brazil
Size: 0.42 – 0.55(10.8 – 14 mm)

The Red Pumpkin Toadlet lives in the Atlantic rainforests of São Paulo state of southeastern Brazil. They live primarily amongst the leaf litter on the ground but can be found up to three feet off the ground. The females are slightly larger than the males. Their colors are aposematic, meaning their colors warn predators that they are poisonous. This allows the toadlet to move around during the day without fear of being eaten by a predator. Also, the species posses highly fluorescent bones on their back and head. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why but its probably a signal possibly to warn of their toxins.

The mating season for the toadlet is believed to be during the rainy season. The males stake out territory and will defend the land from other males including fighting them. Depending on the humidity, the male toadlets call from on or in the leaf litter to attract females. The females lay their eggs on the ground and the male fertilizes them. The eggs are direct developing, skipping the free tadpole stage.

Conservation Status of the Red Pumpkin Toadlet

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has no conservation status for the Red Pumpkin Toadlet. Currently, the IUCN Red List does not have enough data to officially give them a status but it is believed that the toadlet is doing well. Researchers have noted that the toadlet is numerous at sites that they found them.