It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…marbled treefrog?

Marbled tree frog (Phrynohyas venulosa)

Marbled tree frog (Phrynohyas venulosa)

Cute Frog of the Week: March 28, 2011

Marbled tree frogs distinguish themselves from their equally cute tree frog relatives by their uniformly colored flanks and green bones, and the lack of dark vertical barring on the lip. Additionally, males have paired lateral vocal sacs, one of either side of the head behind the angle of their jaw. But that isn’t all that makes this frog so unique. These cuties have a highly developed ability to parachute from the trees of their forest habitats in central and northern South America. They have even been observed gliding for 27 meters after being dropped from a height of 43 meters! When they aren’t showing off their parachuting skills, this nocturnal frog is typically found perching on tree branches and vegetation while foraging at night. It finds shelter in tree holes, under tree bark, or in banana sheaths during the dry season.

Even though this frog is undeniably cute, approach with caution. These guys produce sticky, insoluble, noxious secretions that can cause severe reactions ranging from irritation and swelling to temporary blindness if the secretions end up in the eyes. In Belize, they even call this frog the “pepper tree frog” because it is also thought to cause sneezing! Ah-choo!

Photo credit: Joe Milmoe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

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