The Frog People

Rachel Page, STRI

Rachel Page, STRI staff scientist, studies the interaction between frogs and bats. When male frogs call to attract female frogs, they also attract predators, like bats. (Photo courtesy of STRI)

At the Behavioral Discussion Group at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama earlier this month, post-doc Justin Touchon presented a new study of egg-laying behavior in Dendropsophus tree frogs to a standing-room only crowd. Weeks after the rainy season begins, 30 plus species of frogs join the chorus at the edge of Panama’s Soberania National Park, and the Frog People arrive in droves.

“We don’t experience this concentration of frog researchers at any of our other field sites,” said Karen Warkentin, who brought several students with her from Boston University to study parental care and hatching plasticity in glassfrogs.

Mike Ryan from the University of Texas at Austin, Ryan Taylor, Salisbury University and STRI’s Rachel Page received significant funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation to study female responses to male robofrogs. They’ll learn how animals, including humans, integrate information through different sensory channels.

Karen Lips, University of Maryland, continues to monitor amphibian decline in Cope and in Darien Province. Roberto Ibañez and Brian Gratwicke will orchestrate the construction of new facilities in Gamboa for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. Corinne Richards-Zawacki from Tulane University also has a major NSF grant to study the evolution of Bocas del Toro’s emblematic strawberry poison dart frogs.

--Provided by Beth King, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Who said it’s not polite to stare?

Blue-eyed bush frog (Philautus neelanethrus)

Blue-eyed bush frog (Philautus neelanethrus)

Cute Frog of the Week: June 25, 2012

This frog is ready to challenge you to a staring contest! The blue-eyed bush frog (Philautus neelanethrus), named after its colorful irises, also has a unique orange skin color. The blue-eyed bush frog is an endangered species found in southwest India. It lives in river basins or swamps, but does not depend on water to breed. However, due to recent dam construction and urbanization in the Western Ghats of India, the blue-eyed bush frog population has become fragmented and is decreasing. Scientists hope that these threats can be minimized so that populations of this species listed by the IUCN as endangered may one day recover.

Have you seen one? If so, send in your pic to the global amphibian bioblitz and claim the first observation!

Photo by Dr K V Gururaja via Arkive.

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.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Hoppy Father’s Day!

Reticulated glassfrog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)

Reticulated glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)

Cute Frog of the Week: June 17, 2012

We’re bringing you this special Sunday edition of Cute Frog of the Week in honor of father’s day!

The reticulated glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) is considered the better parent between the pair. In this family of frogs, the mother is the one who leaves shortly after mating, leaving the father to do the work. The male guards the eggs both at night and during the day and will aggressively attack other males that come near the eggs. Researchers have seen males guard up to seven clutches on a single leaf! The male even has a guarding posture—he faces the eggs and keeps one hand on the clutch. The coloration of the males’ skin is strikingly similar to that of their egg clutches, likely to fool a hungry wasp into approaching the guarding father, rather than the actual clutch. This allows the father to drive off or consume the potential predator. One thing’s for sure: you wouldn’t want to tangle with this stay-at-home dad!

The reticulated glass frog is a species of small frogs that can be found in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. This species is in no immediate danger nor has any prominent threats to its population.

Photo by Alejandro Arteaga via Flickr.

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.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

AZA Updates Amphibian Husbandry Guide

Amphibian Husbandry Resource Guide

The AZA has released an updated Amphibian Husbandry Resource Guide, a user-friendly source to aid in the development of successful amphibian conservation programs. With more thna 6,900 species of amphibians in the world, there is still much to be learned about their natural history and captive husbandry requirements. This lack of information and expertise can impede the urgent action needed for the 500+ threatened species in risk of disappearing within the immediate future. The zoological community and private sector have made great strides within the last two decades regarding amphibian husbandry and reproduction techniques, and will continue to develop new and innovative methods each year. However, as amphibian populations wane, it’s important to quickly and effectively pool resources, share expertise and learn from shared experiences to effectively remain ahead of the extinction tide. You can find a rich array of other resources on amphibians on the AZA website.

-Cindy Hoffman, Defenders of Wildlife

Nestled amongst the clouds.

Eugenia’s rain-peeper (Pristimantis eugeniae)

Eugenia’s rain-peeper (Pristimantis eugeniae)

Cute Frog of the Week: June 11, 2012

In northwestern Ecuador lies a beautiful cloud forest. In the sub-canopy of this forest is an equally beautiful and exotic frog. Cradled within the delicate petals of the bromeliad flower lives Pristimantis eugeniae, also known as Eugenia’s rain peeper.

The species occurs in only four localities in a limited area of the cloud forest, in the upper valley of the Rio Pilaton in the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. As of now the range in which the Eugenia’s rain peeper calls home is not a protected area. The cloud forest is in need of protection as much as the frogs that inhabit it.

This species is listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List. Threats to Eugenia’s rain peepers include the slashing and burning of its habitat, logging and human encroachment.

Photo by Alejandro Arteaga via Flickr.

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.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Psychedelic Pebas!

Pebas stubfoot toad (Atelopus spumarius)

Pebas stubfoot toad (Atelopus spumarius)

Cute Frog of the Week: June 4, 2012

Throughout the Amazonian basin, which ranges through Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Colombia and Suriname, lives a tiny toad called the Pebas stubfoot toad, scientifically known as Atelopus spumarius.

It’s a small amphibian with an interestingly flattened body. An intricate net-like pattern encompasses the toad’s  back in a collection of greens and browns. What’s really eye catching though, is the toad’s underbelly. The stubfoot toad’s feet, hands and posterior surface of the belly are a vibrant pink/red color!

This species of amphibian is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List and reports of the population have indicated a steady decline in numbers. Hopefully, efforts can be made to prevent this population from further declining. After all, the world would be a little less colorful without the Pebas stubfoot toad.

Photo by Benjamin Tapley via Arkive.

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.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/