Wart’s Up?

Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri)

Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri)

Cute Frog of the Week: February 21, 2011

This lumpy looking, wart-covered Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri) may not be easy on the eyes, but it probably doesn’t even know it–Wyoming toads can’t see very well. At about two inches in length, its spots and brown color help it blend in. So does the cover of night, when the toads are most active.

Up until the early 1970s, the Wyoming toad was abundant in the Laramie Plains of none other than Wyoming. Within a few years, the species had a major population crash most likely due to pesticides, fertilizers, habitat loss, climate change, and the chytrid fungus. In 1994, the remaining six toads were removed from Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge and placed in a captive breeding program. There are now several Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) participants, including Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facilities housing breeding populations. Through extensive captive breeding efforts, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has produced more than 5,000 tadpoles for release. Unfortunately the reintroduction of this species has been slow to take hold due to chyrtid present in the reintroduction sites, predation and other diseases. To learn more, visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Wyoming toad page.

Photo credit: Jeff Baughman, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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/

Leaf me alone!

Solomon Island leaf frogs (Ceratobatrachus guentheri)

Solomon Island leaf frogs (Ceratobatrachus guentheri)

Cute Frog of the Week: February 14, 2011

These gorgeous forest floor dwellers are native to the wet rainforests of the Solomon Islands and the hot and humid Papua New Guinea. As their name suggests, they look very much like leaves–their color can range from golden to duller browns and they are sometimes referred to as “eyelash” frogs because of the growths over their eyes that gives them more of a “leafy” appearance. Among the 5,000 known frog species, there’s a diverse range of how frogs develop from fertilized egg to hopping little froglets. Coquis are members of a group of frogs that don’t have a free-living (larval) phase. Instead, all steps of development (from single-celled egg to froglet) occur inside the egg. This means that when the pea-sized egg hatches, you don’t get tadpoles, but froglets! How cute is that?! Their eggs are also transparent enough that you can see the developing frog in the egg. These frogs are only about a quarter inch long when they hatch and grow to about three inches by the time they become adults. Even though these cuties are tiny, they have a pretty noisy call which sounds like the barking of a small dog! Hear it for yourself!

Photo credit: Jessie Cohen, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

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/

What’s your name?

Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui)

Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui)

Cute Frog of the Week: February 7, 2011

The coquí (Eleutherodactylus coqui), or “little frog,” as it is called in its native Puerto Rico, is a small frog that ranges in size between 15mm and 80mm and is considerably diverse in appearance. They can be green, brown or yellowish and sometimes have touches of different colors—and even stripes! The coquí is one of those frogs that undergoes metamorphosis inside its egg, unlike many other frog species (and most amphibians for that matter) that change from tadpoles into adult frogs. This means that it hatches from its egg as a little baby frog.

Ask a Puerto Rican abroad what they miss about home, and many will say the sound of coquis! This species has accidentally been introduced to  Hawaii where it thrives, but most Hawaiians don’t have the same appreciation of this frog and go to great lengths to try and get rid of them! And if you can’t remember the name of this little frog, just ask it. Its call sounds like it is saying “coqui.”

Wiggle your toes!

Coquíes have disks on the tips of their toes to help them adhere to surfaces, like moistened leaves. Because they don’t require open water for their life cycle, they don’t have webbing between their toes, like more aquatic frogs, which means that this particular frog is probably not adapted to swim. They do like to be different, don’t they!? These lucky guys are listed as “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, though they have suffered some declines in the highlands.

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.

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

The frog who cried “duck!”

Wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

Wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

Cute Frog of the Week: January 31, 2011

Don’t get confused if you hear a quack and there isn’t a duck in sight. You might’ve just heard the call of the wood frog, whose duck-like quack can be heard coming from moist wooded areas and ponds throughout the Northern United States, Canada and Alaska. If you see a small brown frog with a dark eye mask in the woods, it is likely to be a wood frog. There are no other species with a similar appearance in North America. This cute masked creature measures from 1-2 ¾ inches long and its color varies with temperature and gender; female wood frogs are often larger and redder. Reproduction takes place in late winter/early spring at ponds where there may often still be a layer of ice—but don’t worry about these frogs freezing! Unlike most other frogs, wood frogs can tolerate the freezing of their blood and other tissues. These frogs can survive many freeze/thaw events during winter, allowing up to 65 percent of their total body water to freeze. Cool, eh?

Photo entered by wombatarama at http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

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/

Polished to perfection.

Tiger-striped leaf frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna)

Tiger-striped leaf frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna)

Cute Frog of the Week: January 24, 2011

Part tiger? Part frog? Part monkey? The tiger-striped leaf frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna) has many unique features. Its orange belly and tiger-like stripped legs make it unlike other frogs. Though they don’t hop much, these frogs climb using their hands and fingers, much like monkeys do. Tiger-striped leaf frogs live in the tropical lowland forests as well as the tropical and subtropical swamps where they like to hang out in the canopy above pools of water. Doesn’t their skin look waxy and smooth? That’s because they produce and apply a waxy substance that covers it. Not only does this give the frogs a polished look, but it acts as a built-in sunscreen to protect the frogs from harmful rays of the sun and to retain moisture. This remarkable adaptation allows the tiger-striped leaf frog and its sister species—monkey frogs—to visit niches in the treetops, exposed to the sun, where other types of frogs couldn’t survive.

But don’t expect to catch these little guys out during the day! They like to do their exploring at night. Even during the day they’re hard to spot—they tuck in their arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes, shut their eyes and press their chin down against a resting surface. In this way, they appear to be nothing more than a bump on a branch or lump on a leaf. The colorful sides of their body and bold orange and black stripes on their limbs are artfully concealed while the frog snoozes.

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.

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

Jumpin’ Jack Flash!

Rain forest rocket frog (Silverstoneia flotator)

Rain forest rocket frog (Silverstoneia flotator)

Cute Frog of the Week: January 17, 2011

Okay, so this little guy can’t leap very far, but it sure appears like he’s trying here! Silverstoneia flotator (formerly Colestethus flotator), known as “rocket frogs,” live in the humid lowlands of Costa Rica and Panama. Because these cuties are actually a non-poisonous member of the poison dart frog family, they lack the bright warning colors of their well-defended cousins. There’s little information out there about these rocket frogs, but the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as least concern because they have a wide distribution and a large population. That’s at least some good news for our froggie friends! You can listen to their interesting vocalization on the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s site.

Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.

Banded horned tree frog (Hemiphractus fasciatus) ALL-NEW frog ringtones: Download the rainforest rocket frog’s call!

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/

Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?

Borneo eared Frog (Polypedates otilophus)

Borneo eared frog (Polypedates otilophus)

Cute Frog of the Week: January 10, 2011

You’d think this cute little guy would have an easy timing hearing you with its big ears, but guess what? Those big flaps of skin that look like ears are actually just bony ridges! The black freckled skin of Borneo eared frogs, Polypedates otilophus) is unusually smooth and their feet are especially adept for climbing straight up trees, clinging to the underside of leaves or even hanging from a tree branch—by one toe! As in most frog species, females tend to be larger in size than males, although males dominate the breeding rituals.

Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.

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/

All dressed up and nowhere to go.

Toad Mountain harlequin frog (Atelopus certus)

Toad Mountain harlequin frog (Atelopus certus): Juvenile Toad Mountain harlequin frogs sport metallic green chevrons and bright orange feet.

Cute Frog of the Week: January 3, 2011

The Toad Mountain harlequin frog is a pretty snazzy dresser; like other harlequin frogs, both males and females sport skin pigmented in bright, fanciful colors and patterns. However, males are much more likely to show off, gathering together by the stream-side year-round to boast their colors and call for mates. Female Toad Mountain harlequin frogs, on the other hand, only strut their stuff when they want to reproduce. On a recent expedition, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project scientists found 50 males out and about and only 12 females, who came to the water to mate and lay eggs.

Native to the Darién Province of Panama’s tropical forests, these endangered frogs’ populations are dwindling due to the rapid spread of chytrid fungus. The rescue project’s keepers at the Summit Zoo recently observed their Toad Mountain harlequin frogs in amplexus (from the latin “embrace,” amplexus is a form of pseudocopulation in which a male amphibian grasps a female with his front legs as part of the mating process), and a clutch of eggs soon followed! This is exciting news, especially because restoring Toad Mountain harlequin frog populations is one of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project’s top priorities. This success is vital for the understanding of their reproduction in captivity, which will make it possible one day to reintroduce this extremely rare species back into its native region.

Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.

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.

My, my, what translucent skin you have!

 

Hourglass tree frog (Hyla ebraccata)

Hourglass tree frog (Hyla ebraccata)

Cute Frog of the Week: December 27, 2010

This frog may look like a little like an hourglass, but we’re not so sure it can tell time. The hourglass frog gets its name from the hourglass shape that you can usually see on the frog’s back. Its translucent skin changes color depending on the time of day and the stress the frog is experiencing. These amphibians are the most active at night but also love to hop around after a good rain. The female hourglass frogs get to pick their mate and together they travel to a secure place where they’ll lay their eggs above the water. Don’t let time run out, let’s help these guys out!

Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.

Banded horned tree frog (Hemiphractus fasciatus) ALL-NEW frog ringtones: Download the hourglass tree frog’s call!

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This frog’s parenting methods may raise eyebrows.

Horned marsupial frog (Gastrotecha cornuta)

Horned marsupial frog (Gastrotecha cornuta)

Cute Frog of the Week: December 13, 2010

When most people hear the word “marsupial,” images of leaping kangaroos and climbing koala bears immediately come to mind. Unlike these mammals, however, a horned marsupial frog (Gastrotecha cornuta) mom carries the weight of motherhood on her back—literally. After she lays eggs, her mate fertilizes them and gingerly places them in a stretchy pouch atop her back. Safely tucked away, their babies incubate, feeding off nutrients in the eggs and growing (…and growing! According to the IUCN, horned marsupial frogs have the largest amphibian eggs recorded, relative to body size). The young hatch while still in the pouch and emerge not as tadpoles, but as fully-formed froglets!

Native to the forests of Columbia, Ecuador and Eastern eanama, these endangered frogs’ populations are dwindling due to the rapid spread of chytrid fungus. Thanks to the efforts of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, scientists at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in the United States, El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center  and the Summit Zoo (both in Panama), have had success breeding future generations of these hard-working momma and papa frogs.

And check out this great BBC video about a marsupial frog in the same family!

Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project.

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