Why I like frogs

Posted May 14, 2024

Frogs are my favorite animals. There are so many different kinds, and they all have unique little lives. As a kid I often hung out at this little ditch that frequently had tadpoles and little toads; I loved watching them do their thing. Frogs are so important to the environment, controlling insect populations, providing environmental indicators, and contributing to beautiful diversity. I learned about chytrid fungus several years ago, and it angers me how much humans have contributed to the spread of this disease. I think the large majority of people do not think about frogs enough, so this blog is my attempt at exploring the uniqueness of the many different frog species.

Glass Frogs

Posted April 21, 2024
Edited May 1, 2024: added more info

Glass frogs are cool, not only because you can see everything, but there are over 150 species of glass frogs alone! Their transluscent skin makes them nearly impossible to spot in the rainforests they inhabit. A common feature of predator animals is forward-facing eyes, and glass frogs are no exception; their diet consists of smaller frogs and insects (depending on the species). Glass frogs are native to Central America,but the exotic pet trade has brought them to Europe and North America. This trade is highly illegal due to their endangered status, and it propagates the spread of chytrid fungus. Science.org has a fascinating article about how exactly glass frogs are able to camoflauge so well. As it turns out, they store almost all their red blood vessels in their livers, making them almost transparent. Male glass frogs are known to guard the eggs for females, and some even continue to care for the babies after birth!

Amau Frogs

Posted April 23, 2024
Edited May 6, 2024: added more info

The Amau frogs (Paedophryne amauensis), aka one of the smallest terrestrial vertebrate species, inhabit tropical forests in Papau New Guinea. Spotting this species can be difficult due to their size(7.7 millimetres avg), but the IUCN ranks them as Least Concern for extinction; they are stated as being "extraordinarily abundant". Additionally, there is NO chytrid fungus on Papau New Guinea as of 2020, hopefully we can keep it that way. Amau frogs are a type of narrow-mouthed frogs, and they are surprisingly carnivorous, consuming smaller invertebrates. Amau frogs skip the tadpole stage, instead hatching as "hoppers." Here is a link to the research report documenting their discovery.

Beelzebufo

Posted April 29, 2024

Beelzebufo was a prehistoric, massive frog. First discovered in 1993, the giant frogs found their home in Madagascar some 70 million years ago. The bones found indicate a "16-inch, 10-pound" beast that fed on smaller animals of any kind. This "devil frog" is actually related to the modern day pacman frog of South America! Something interesting about these frogs is that they had sharp, curved teeth and a crushing bite of roughly 2,200 Newtons--stronger than a crocodile!

Wyoming Toad

Posted May 10, 2024

Anaxyrus baxteri, common name Wyoming Toad, is a critcally endangered species of North American toad. As its name would suggest, the toads are native to a small area in Wyoming, just outside Medicine Bow National Park. The toads are similar in appearance to the common toad, with bumpy warts and a ridged head. They protect themselves by secreting poison from glands on their head, making them an unappetizing meal to predators. Speaking of predators, Wyoming Toads are! They eat beetles, ants, and other small invertebrates. While many toads have been released back into the wild, they struggle to thrive due to pollution, chytrid fungus, and predation. Still, several facilities operate conservation efforts to keep the toads alive, and their efforts are improving conditions for frogs and toads across North America.

Here is a link to a blog from a researcher dedicated to the revival of this species: Link

Kihansi Spray Toad

Posted May 23, 2024

The Kihansi Spray Toad is a small species of toads from Tanzania. Currently it mostly exists in captivity. It took only 8 years for the population to dwindle from 17,000 down to 499. The main reason for their critical status is the construction of a dam in their area that reduced the amount of mist coming off a waterfall. In 2003, a reintroduction attempt was made, but failures with artificial sprinklers and the introduction of chytrid fungus wiped out the new population. However, captive breeding programs and careful monitoring have allowed several thousand members to return to their native habitat. The Kihansi spray toad measures on average 10-18mm in length. TINY! They have small flaps over their nostrils, possibly due to the misty environment they thrive in. The toads act as an indicator species for the Kihansi Gorge, so their survival is crucial to the wellbeing of the local ecosystem. Like Amau Frogs, Kihansi Spray Toads produce live young!

Southern Corroboree Frog

Posted June 6, 2024

The Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) is an endangered species from Mount Kosciuszko National Park of New South Wales in Australia. Something interesting about these frogs is that it takes four years for them to reach maturity, typically frogs take about two years. Mature frogs measure 2.5 - 3cm in length. The Corroboree frogs eat small insects such as ants and beetles. Southern Corroborees are different from their Northern counterparts mainly in the appearance of their bright coloration, but they are both endangered. The Southern Corroboree typically has more yellow/green than black colorations. Chytridiomycosis is the primary cause for the decline of the species. Several zoos now have captive breeding programs dedicated to the survival of these beautiful frogs. These places are Taronga Zoo, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (ACT), Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and the Amphibian Research Centre in Melbourne. Corroboree Frogs are an iconic Australian species, and their survival has advanced chytridiomycosis research greatly. Further research into the species could provide the key to finding a cure.

Vicente's Poison Frog

Posted June 21, 2024

Vicente's Poison Frog (Oophaga vicentei) is an endangered species native to Panama. They are threatened by habitat destruction and exotic pet trades. Chytrid fungus may also play a role in the species' decline. Vicente's frog may be brown, blue, or red in color with brightly colored spots on their back. These frogs measure in at around 14-20mm in length and tend to live in the tree tops. They eat small ants/mites and behave similarly to other poison dart frogs. These frogs have interesting breeding habits; Females lay the eggs, males watch over them, females come back to transport tadpoles to bromeliads in the trees, then return to feed the tadpoles unfertilized eggs until they mature.

˖⁺₊˚ ♡ ˚‧⁺˖Featured Frog˖‧₊˚ ♡ ˚‧⁺˖

The Hairy Frog, AKA the Wolverine Frog, breaks their bones to create tiny claws for self defense!

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