tree frog thursday

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

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photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Mountain Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris brachyphona
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania
Size: 1.25 inches

The Mountain Chorus Frog is found in and around the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. The frog starts breeding when they wake up from their hibernation generally around late February and early March. The males call sounds like reeking sound. Females can lay 300 to 1500 eggs in a clutch. No parental care has been reported in the Mountain Chorus Frog. The eggs hatch in 7-10 days and the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis in a month or two. The Mountain Chorus Frog is a terrestrial species of tree frog. They spend most of their time on the ground.

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Frog of the Week

Reticulated Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)

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least concern
Common Name: Reticulated Glass Frog, Valerio’s Glass Frog, La Palma Glass Frog, and Ranita de Vidrio
Scientific Name: Hyalinobatrachium valerioi
Family: Centrolenidae – Glass Frog Family
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama
Size: 1 inch

Like most Glass Frogs from the family Centrolenidae, the Reticulated Glass Frog is a highly arboreal species of frogs, rarely leaving the trees that are their home. They will even lay their eggs on leaves overhanging streams. Breeding for the Reticulated Glass Frog takes place during the wet season. Males will carve out territories and start calling. If another male enters the territory, the male will send out calls to tell the intruder to go away. If the intruder does not leave, a fight will break out that could lead to death. After mating, the female will lay around 30 eggs on the underside of leaves overhanging streams. She will then leave the eggs but the males will protect and guard them from enemies such as wasps. They will even pee on them to keep them moist. Parental care is not often seen in glass frogs.

The Reticulated Glass Frog can be found in the pet trade. They can be hard to take care of so you shouldn’t get one if you are a beginner to frogs. They are nocturnal so you won’t see them much during the day since they hide under leaves. No more than one male can be housed together at a time or they could fight and kill each other. The Reticulated Glass Frog doesn’t have the longest lifespan, averaging between 5-8 years in captivity, obviously with better care maybe longer. If you still want to buy one, make sure it is captive bred, to help protect wild ones. Also never release any pet frog into the wild if you can no longer take care of it.

Frog of the Week

Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

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photo by the USFWS

least concern
Common Name: Pig Frog
Scientific Name: Lithobates grylio
Family: Ranidae – True Frog Family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas
Introduced Locations: Bahamas, China, and Puerto Rico.
Size: 6.5 inches (165 mm)

The Pig Frog is named after the male’s mating call that sounds like a pig grunt. Like most frogs in North America, the Pig Frog breeds from early spring to late summer. Generally, the frog breeds in permanent bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, and swamps but have been known to breed in ephemeral ponds, streams, and roadside ditches. Females can lay up to 15,000 eggs during a breeding season. The Pig Frog is mostly aquatic, only coming to the edge of bodies of water.

New Species

New Species and Genus from the Western Ghats of India

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A new species of frog was discovered in the Western Ghats of India. The Western Ghats is an incredible place to go frogging. There are three known families of frogs that are only found there and hundreds of different species of frogs. Not only was this new species discovered, it has been put into a new genus by itself and its own new subfamily.

Researchers decided on the common name  of the new frog as the Starry Dwarf Frog (Astrobatrachus kurichiyana) after the light spots on their body that resemble stars. The genus name also reflects that stars,  astro meaning star in Greek and batrachus meaning frog. The species epithet, Kurichiyana, is the name of the local tribal community living near the frogs. The Starry Dwarf Frog is a member of the family Nyctibatrachidae, a fairly new family. The family is only found in India and Sri Lanka. The new subfamily is named Astrobatrachinae.

The conservation status of the frog is currently unknown. Not much really is known about the Starry Dwarf Frog. What is known is that it is mainly terrestrial and nocturnal.  They are a small species of frogs, only growing to an inch long.

Read the full scientific article at https://peerj.com/articles/6457/

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Other Amphibian of the Week

Misty Salamander (Hynobius nebulosus)

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photo by Henk Wallays

least concern
Common Name: Misty Salamander, Clouded Salamander
Scientific Name: Hynobius nebulosus
Family: Hynobiidae – Asiatic Salamander Family
Location: Japan
Size: 5 inches total length

The Misty Salamander is found only in Japan on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and on Ikishima. During the mating season, males stake out territory and will defend them from other males. This defense includes biting and tail wagging. If a male salamander can’t get a decent territory, they will become what scientists call a sneaker. These sneakers will wait around a different males territory until the other male is mating with female. The sneaker tries to sneak in and and fertilize the female’s eggs.

Frog of the Week

Marbled Balloon Frog (Uperodon systoma)

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photo by Gihan Jayaweera

least concern
Common Name: Marbled Balloon Frog
Scientific Name: Uperodon systoma
Family: Microhylidae
Locations: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Size: 2.5 inches

The Marbled Balloon Frog spends most of its life underground, only coming to the surface during the summer monsoons from May to July. They have powerful hind legs, that help them burrow deep in the ground. One frog had been found over 3 feet deep. The frog lacks any teeth, due to their diet of mainly termites and ants.

Frog of the Week

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas)

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photo by Walter Siegmund

least concern
Common Name: Western Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus boreas
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Canada, Mexico, and the United States
US Locations: Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 5 inches

The Western Toad is found in western North America, from Alaska down to Baja California. There are two subspecies of the toad, the California Toad (A. b. halophilus) and the Boreal Toad (A. b. boreas). The California Toad is found in California (duh), northern Baja California, and western Nevada. The Boreal Toad is found in the northern parts of the range.

 

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photo from USGS/Chris Brown

Some populations of the Western Toad are not doing so hot. Western Toads are listed in Colorado as an endangered species. They are listed as a protected species in Wyoming. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly pathogen, seems to be the main problem for the Western Toads. Habitat destruction is another problem for the toads.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Bell’s False Brook Salamander (Isthmura bellii)

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photo by Sean Michael Rovito

vulnerable
Common Name: Bell’s False Brook Salamander
Scientific Name: Isthmura bellii
Family: Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders
Location: Mexico
Size: 14 inches (36 cm)

The Bell’s False Brook Salamander is the largest salamander in the family Plethodontidae and one of the largest salamanders in the world. They live mostly under logs and in leaf litter. The Bell’s False Brook Salamander is a direct developing species of salamander, skipping the larvae phase. Because of this, the salamanders don’t need water to reproduce so they lay their eggs on land. Females can lay up to 20 eggs at a time.

Populations of the Bell’s False Brook Salamander is dropping. Their habitat is being destroyed for cities, logging sites, and farms but scientists don’t believe that this is the primary cause of their decline. They are still uncertain about it.

Frog of the Week

Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus)

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photo by Todd Pierson

nearthreatened
Common Name: Crawfish Frog
Scientific Name: Lithobates areolatus
Family: Ranidae – True Frogs
Locations: United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas
Size: 4.4 inches (113 mm) long for females, 4.1 inches (105 mm) long for males

The Crawfish Frog is named after the fact that they live in the holes of crawfish. They use the holes for protection from predators. In the northern part of their range, they use them to get below the frost line to prevent them from freezing to death.

Breeding occurs from January to May following rain fall. In the northern parts of their range, they breed later from late February to May while frogs in the southern parts of their range breed from January to April. After the rains fall and temporary ponds of water are formed by the rain, the male Crawfish Frogs migrate to these ponds and start calling. Female frogs follow shortly after. Crawfish Frogs are explosive breeders with most of the mating happening right away at the start of the season.

One noticeable characteristic of the male Crawfish Frog is their lateral vocal sacs which is not often seen in frogs in the US.

There are two sub species of the Crawfish Frog, the Northern (Lithobates a. circulosa) and Southern (Lithobates a. areolata).

Frog of the Week

Lowland Burrowing Tree Frog (Smilisca fodiens)

photo by Rafael Alejandro Calzada-Arciniega

least concern
Common Name: Lowland Burrowing Tree Frog, Northern Casquehead Frog,
Scientific Name: Smilisca fodiens
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Location: Arizona
Size: 2.5 inches

The Lowland Burrowing Tree Frog is not your typical tree frog, it doesn’t live in the trees, it lives in burrows. It lives in the desert so the they need to keep moist. The burrows they live in are very moist. If the moisture leaves during periods of drought, the Lowland Burrowing Tree Frog can create a cocoon out of their outer skin to help keep them moist. After the rains come and the frog doesn’t need the cocoon anymore, the frog will break out and then eat the cocoon.