A frog is any member of a varied and primarily carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians forming the order Anura. The earliest fossil “proto-frog” occurred in the early Triassic of Madagascar, but molecular clock dating reveals their roots may reach farther back to the Permian, 265 million years ago. Now let’s see who the cute frogs are.
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
The red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas), a resident of the tropical lowlands stretching from southern Mexico to northern South America, is a favorite for its extraordinary adaptations. Its protruding red eyes are its distinguishing trait, but it is also noted for its neon-green body, highlighted with vertical blue and yellow stripes on the sides and vivid orange or reddish feet. It is hypothesized that when frightened, the red-eyed tree frog flashes its excessive color, briefly fooling its predators and therefore allowing its escape. The species also has an outstanding leaping ability, which earned it the moniker “monkey frog.” Its large webbed feet, fitted with sticky pads, give a stable hold as it jumps and climbs amid the trees.
Blue Poison Dart Frog
The blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius “azureus”) is certainly beautiful—like sapphire. And similar to a beautiful jewel, this type of frog is one of nature’s unique treasures, found exclusively in the tropical woods that border the Sipaliwini Savanna of southern Suriname and continue into northern Brazil. As its brilliant warning colors and popular name imply, the blue poison dart frog is venomous, secreting a harmful chemical via its skin. It is also recognizable by its body, having long arms and a slumped back. Every member of the species has a specific pattern of black dots on its back and sides, a fingerprint that may be used to identify them apart.
Golden Poison Frog
Small and with wide round eyes, the golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) seems pretty innocuous. But covering its brilliantly colored skin lies a poisonous chemical known as batrachotoxin. A normal wild golden poison frog possesses between 700 to 1,900 micrograms of toxin in its bloodstream, a portion of which—200 micrograms or less—is enough to kill a person. Although frequently yellow, adults may be anywhere from orange to light green in hue. Like many other brilliantly colored creatures, its beautifully painted body acts as a warning of its danger. Remarkably, the snake Liophis Epinephelus is resistant to the poison, making it the frog’s sole known predator. The golden poison frog is endemic to five pockets of lowland habitat in the upper Río Saija drainage of the Amazonian rainforest, near Colombia’s Pacific coast. It is an endangered species due to its tiny numbers, the restricted size of its distribution, and the increasing degradation of its habitat.
Amazon Milk Frog
The Amazon milk frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) is a distinctive and brilliantly colored species with alternating bands and patches of dark brown and light gray to blue skin. The contrast between the hues is at its most striking in juvenile frogs. As they mature, the colors fade significantly, and their skin becomes more granular in texture. The color allows the Amazon milk frog to blend with the trees in its environment in the Amazon rainforest of northern South America. Its toe pads are also uniquely designed for an arboreal existence. The species’ genus name alludes to its distinctively long snout, while the popular name “milk frog” recalls the milky white, toxic fluids that ooze from its skin when the animal is disturbed. The Amazon milk frog is also known as the mission golden-eyed tree frog for the stunning gold-and-black cross pattern in the iris of its eye.
Red and plump, the tomato frog (Dyscophus antongilii) looks very much like a huge, ripe tomato. The brightest and biggest members of the species are the females. In both sexes, color acts as a warning sign—when attacked, the tomato frog secretes a white, glue-like material from its skin, which serves as a deterrent to predators. The tomato frog is endemic to the tropical rainforests of northeastern Madagascar, notably the vicinity of Antongil Bay.
The goliath frog (Conraua goliath) reaches between 6.5 to 12.5 inches in length and weighs anything from roughly 1 to 7 pounds, making it the biggest frog in the world. Tadpoles begin life the same size as the tadpoles of other frog species but develop to extremely huge size within approximately three months. Goliath frogs also lack vocal sacs, instead of producing a type of whistling sound for their mating call, and males normally are bigger than females, a unique feature among frogs. The goliath frog inhabits rivers in the tropical woods of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. The species is endangered.
Mimic Poison Frog
The mimic poison frog (Ranitomeya imitator) is a favorite for its enormous diversity in color patterns. Four different morphs are known for the species, each a combination of brilliant colors. The morphs are likely to have developed by a phenomenon called mimetic radiation, in which a species evolves to closely resemble distinct model species. In the case of the mimic poison frog, those models are other species of poison frogs, like the splash-back poison frog (R. variabilis) and the red-headed poison frog (R. fantastic), that inhabit different geographical areas of central Peru—areas that all lie within the range of the mimic poison frog. At the boundaries of such locations, the interaction between various morphs of the mimic poison frog produces hybrids with totally distinctive color patterns. Those characteristics may give a reproductive advantage, indicating that the mimic poison frog is developing right in front of our eyes.
Bumblebee Dart Poison Frog
A new exhibit showcasing live frogs from all around the globe is launching at the American Museum of Natural History in New York Saturday (May 17) and runs until January 5, 2014.
The display, entitled “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors,” comprises more than 150 live frogs from roughly 25 species. Above: Bumblebee dart poison frogs are sometimes known as yellow-banded poison frogs. Their brilliant hues act as warning signs for predators, recognizing them as a deadly feast.
Ornate Horned Frog
Ornate horned frogs dwell in the jungles and pampas plains of Uruguay, Brazil, and northern Argentina. Voracious eaters, horned frogs burrow themselves among leaves or loose dirt and pounce on tiny creatures that bumble by.
Mexican Dumpy Frog
Mexican dumpy frogs are from semi-arid subtropical lowland forests in Mexico. They spend practically their whole lives off the ground, dwelling in tree canopies, on branches and leaves. They are great climbers.
More than a century ago, American bullfrogs were brought into the western United States, believing that they might be cultivated for food. Although the agricultural operations failed, the bullfrog adapted to man-made ponds and streams and is now a threat to native species of fish, snakes, birds, and other frogs—some of them endangered.
Fire-bellied toads employ skin color for protection—the green and black skin on their backs offer concealment. The toads fling their legs in the air when disturbed, showing a brilliant orange “fire belly.” If flashing these brilliant colors doesn’t deter the predator, the toad possesses poisonous skin secretions that make it an undesirable meal.
Borneo Eared Frog
Borneo-eared frogs are endemic to Borneo, Sumatra, and other Indonesian islands. Females deposit eggs in foam nests linked to trees overhanging the water. They make the nests by hammering a frothy discharge into foam using their hind legs.
Also Read: Animaldad