Tag Archive: amphibians

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura (Frogs, Toads)
Family: Rhacophoridae

Genus/species: Theloderma corticale

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Vietnamese Mossy Frog are a marvel of camouflage coloration and texture. Tubercles and spines on the skin and mottled colors of green, black, and purple make the animals blend perfectly into their mossy, wooded background. They have large sticky pads on their toes and a soft underbelly.

Length 7- 8 cm (3 inches)



DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: T. corticale are found in North Vietnam in subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests, freshwater marshes. A semi-aquatic species that spends much time in the water, hiding under rocks and floating plants. Also spends time above the water, attached to crevice or rock where it blends perfectly with its background.

Count the eyes below

DIET IN THE WILD: Nocturnal, they have a long, sticky tongue attached to the front of their mouth that they use to catch insects. Frogs has no hard palate. To swallow it pulls its eyes down into the roof of its mouth helping to push food down its throat.

ACADEMY DIET: Crickets primarily three times per week.

CONSERVATION: The World Conservation Union (IUCN) states that clear cutting forests and demand from the pet trade can potentially impact numbers.

REPRODUCTION: Eggs are laid on rocks or vegetation just above the water. After hatching, the larvae fall into the water below and metamorphose from a tadpole to a frog in about a year.

CONSERVATION:IUCN Red List: Least Concern

REMARKS: Like all tree frogs, they have adhesive toe pads that allow it to grip the undersides of slick leaves or rocks. Recent studies have shown these pads to be a sophisticated combination of mucous covered areas that provide wet adhesion and raised dry areas that provide a grip on dry surfaces. These findings have stimulated exploration into improved tire design.

They can absorb oxygen through their skin. (M Avila Academy Biologist)

Curls into a ball and “plays dead” when frightened.

Vietnamese Mossy Frog Theloderma corticale (Rhacophoridae)

Water planet, Water Dependence 


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Water Dependance 2018

Ron’s Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/with/5355461537/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-LI

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Theloderma_corticale/classif…

IUCN Red list www.iucnredlist.org/species/59033/87476136

WAZA www.waza.org/en/zoo/pick-a-picture/theloderma-corticale

American Museum of Natural History.  research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/amphibia/Amphibia/Anura/…


Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Salamandridae

Genus/species: Neurergus kaiseri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: N. kaiseri has a distinctive, spectacular coloration, with a long narrow yellow or orange-red dorsal stripe overlaying bleached white (spots or a continuous band) on a black background. The bottom is whitish or orange-red, and may have black markings.

Length up to 14 cm (5.5 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Native to the central Zagros Mountains of Iran in the Lorestan and Khuzestan provinces. N. kaiseri comes from a hot dry climate. They reproduce in winter during periods of rain, which are followed by long periods of hot dry weather in which the animals estivate. It is estimated that water is present in their habitat for 3 months of the year or less.

DIET in captivity: They are fed small earthworms (whole or chopped), lesser wax worms, large fruit flies, maggots, tropical woodlice, and crickets of appropriate size.
They are not picky eaters.

REPRODUCTION: Eggs are deposited singly on rough surfaces on the underside of stones and also use vegetation.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Vulnerable. The population is considered to be severely fragmented as per IUCN guidelines given the habitat where it occurs and the relatively low vagility of the species. The species is illegally harvested for the national and international pet trade Its biggest threat. It is believed that less than 1000 adults exist in nature. N. kaiseri has become the first example of a species granted international protection due to e-commerce.

REMARKS: A captive breeding program is in place at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, which now has hundreds of surplus captive-bred N. kaiseri.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Water is life precious little water 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/25770028168/in/album-72157662092331262/

Amphibia web. amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?query_src=aw_lists_gener…

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/59450/0

Caudata Culture. www.caudata.org/cc/species/Neurergus/N_kaiseri.shtml


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae

Genus/species: Oophaga (formerly Dendrobates) pumilio

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Despite the common name, coloration is reportedly highly variable among locations with up to 30 color morphs . Individuals may be ripe-strawberry red, brilliant blue, deep green or brown. The limbs are marbled dark blue and black. Body is slim, snout is rounded, the eyes large. The long, slender forelimbs end in finger and toe tips expanded into adhesive discs. Length to 2.5 cm (1 inch).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. Primarily terrestrial in tropical rain forest leaf litter and decaying vegetation.

DIET IN THE WILD: Hunts diurnally, primarily upon ants and oribatid mites.

PREDATION: Night ground snakes are immune to the toxins of O. pumilio. Tadpoles are often consumed because their poison glands are underdeveloped.  They are in danger of an aggressive fungus – Chytrid Fungus – that is killing off frog populations around the globe.

REPRODUCTION: The male protects and keeps their eggs moist until they hatch. Then the female carries the tadpoles to a water filled bromeliad where the young feed on unfertilized eggs (oophagy).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Least Concern (LC)
population numbers are currently high despite illegal capture for the pet trade and habitat loss.

REMARKS: Alkaloids in the skin glands of poison frogs serve as a chemical defense against predation, and most come from the oribatid mites. In captivity, with a non-native food source, they lose their toxicity.



California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/with/3142854919/

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Oophaga_pumilio/

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/55196/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/330984/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-LZ

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia (Amphibians)
Order: Anura
Family: Pipadae

Genus/species: Pipa pipa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The stout body has a triangular head, small black beadlike eyes and nostrils at the end of two narrow tubes on its snout. Huge, webbed rear feet are used for propulsion. It is dark gray to brown color, along with flaps and projections of skin on the jaw and around the body, helping it blend into the surroundings.

Length up to 20 cm (8 in). Weight: 3.5 to 5.6 ounces.

DIET IN THE WILD: Juveniles are cannibals and predators. Adults  lye patiently in wait locating food with long fingers with star-shaped tactile organs on its fingertips in murky water P. pipa does not have teeth or a tongue, so its large mouth helps it swallow food whole eating  fish, worms, insects, and crustaceans.


REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Males utilize a rapidly repeated clicking sound to attract mates. Grasping the female from above, the male fertilizes the eggs as they are extruded. The male and female somersault together through the water, as fertilized eggs are released. Given the female’s swimming dexterity and an assist by the male, the eggs are placed on her back where they embed in the skin, which has become soft during mating season. Within 24 hours the female’s skin begins to swell around her eggs forming skin-covered pockets. Larvae mature through the tadpole stage within these pockets for 12–20 weeks, and eventually emerge as fully formed toads, though they are less than 2 cm (0.8 in) long. Surinam toads have reproduced successfully at the Steinhart for many years.

Mortality/Longevity: Though they often seem all skin and no flesh, these toads are eaten by some indigenous Amazonian peoples and other aquatic predators.Lives up to 8 years.


REMARKS: Like all Pipidae, it lacks a tongue. The clicking sound they make is produced by snapping the hyroid bone in their throats.
Pipid frogs seem more specialized for an aquatic life style than any other group of frogs as suggested by their flat bodies, dorsal eyes, the lateral line system of the adult, extensive webbing, powerful hind limbs that cannot be folded under the body, and elaborate aquatic courtship behaviors.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium animal attractions 2017

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3399392575/in/set-72157608456457315

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pipa_pipa/

Amphibiaweb http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Pipa&where-species=pipa

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-pF

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Dendrobatidae

Genus/species: Phyllobates lugubris

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: P. lugubris are small frogs, less than an inch in length, with the females slightly larger than the males. The head is longer than wide with a round snout. The back is jet black with paired dorsolateral stripes, of various colors including yellow, orange, gold or turquoise. They also have a thinner lighter turquoise or white ventrolateral stripe on each side from the tip of the snout to and along the front limbs.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: This species inhabits the humid lowland and the premontane zone along the Atlantic coast of southeastern Nicaragua through Costa Rica to Central Panama. The frogs live in the leaf litter of the forest floor, near slow-moving water.

DIET IN THE WILD: Eat ants, mites, beetles, and spiders.

REPRODUCTION: Breeding occurs in the wet season. Males call to attract females, with a chortle that sounds like a hand rubbing an inflated balloon. A pair works together to create a ground nest in dry leaf litter. The female then deposits her eggs, which the male fertilizes. The male takes over and periodically moistens the eggs in the nest until the eggs hatch. He then carries 5 to 10 tadpoles at a time on his back to aquatic rearing sites. In about 2 months the tadpoles metamorphose into froglets that are about a half an inch long.

Phyllobates lugubris14933390504_dcd8c270b1_o

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Most poison dart frogs can live from 10 to 15 years in captivity. In general poison dart frogs have few predators. Their bright colors warn potential predators that they are toxic, even though in reality many of them merely taste bad because of sour but low potency toxins in their skins. Thus this group provides examples of both aposematic coloration and Batesian mimicry (an edible animal is protected by its resemblance to a noxious one that is avoided by predators).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least concern (LC) This species is relatively safe due to its wide distribution, tolerance to modification to its habitat, and its fairly large population. Some collected specimens have been found to be infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus), but the pathogenic impacts are unclear.

REMARKS: Some South American natives capture other members of this genus (Phyllobates terribilis, P. bicolor, P. aurotaenia) to poison blow-gun darts. However, Phyllobates lugubris is not as toxic as other species in its genus and has not been documented to have been hunted primarily for its poison

P. lugubris is sympatric with another species, Eleutherodactylus gaigeae, known as the “false poison-dart frog.” This species mimics the appearance of P. lugubris in order to fend off predators, by having two paired red stripes running the length of the body. However, E. gaigae is a non-toxic mimic and does not produce batrachotoxins.


California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions, Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1t1

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/14933390504/in/set-72157620708938680

Amphibiaweb  amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Phyllobates&…

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/55263/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1025277/details



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Centrolenidae

Genus/species: Cochranella granulosa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are usually have a dark blue-green dorsum, often with scattered black spots. with the abdominal skin transparent showing internal organs. White stripe is present on the on upper lip.

Length about one inch long, females slightly larger than males.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The Granular Glass Frog is native to Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, They are found Arboreally in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, rivers, and heavily degraded former forest.

Granular Glass Frog9586409513_a9555368e5_k

REPRODUCTION: C. granulosa lays eggs on leaves above water. Upon hatching the tadpoles drop into the water then grow into adults.


Generally threatened by habitat loss resulting from deforestation, and water pollution.


California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions

Amphibiaweb www.amphibiaweb.org/cgi-bin/amphib_query?where-genus=Coch...

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/54964/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/1047969/details

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/with/9130483407/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-11e

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Salamandridae

Genus/species: Taricha torosa

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: It has a warty brown dorsal side and a yellow-orange ventral side. In outward appearance, Eyes extend beyond the profile of the head.

Taricha torosa22363814856_37c18ac5bf_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: West coast of the United States, mainly in California, extending from Humbolt County to San Diego. They prefer grassy regions but are most visible from December to May when they migrate back to their breeding ponds.

DIET: Slugs, worms, many insects, and other amphibians.

REPRODUCTION: External fertilization. The female lays egg masses of 7-30 eggs that are protected by a toxic membrane containing the same tetrodotoxin found in adults. Within 3 months, most of the larvae metamorphose into juveniles of about 2 inches (~5 cm) or slightly longer.


LONGEVITY: 12-15 years in the wild.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern.

Some populations of T. torosa are threatened due to habitat destruction and the introduction of non-native predators such as mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and crayfish. In the state of California sections of roads have been closed during the rainy season in order to protect the migrating newts.

REMARKS: These newts have relatively few predators other than man due to their highly potent tetrodotoxin. The main natural native predator is the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). It is interesting to note that some garter snakes have developed a genetic resistance to tetrodotoxin.


California Academy of Sciences Color of Life Exhibit 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/22363814856/in/album-72157652559028013/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink       http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Bj

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/59471/0

amphibiaweb  amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Taricha&…

Caudata Culture www.caudata.org/cc/species/Taricha/T_torosa.shtml

NIH  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726340/



Kingdom: Animalia (animals) 
Phylum: Chordata (chordates) 
Subphylum: Vertebrata (vertebrates) 
Class: Amphibia (Amphibians) 
Order: Anura  (Frogs, Toads) 
Family: Bufonidae ( Bufonids, bufonidés, crapauds, Toads)

Genus/species:  Phrynoidis juxtaspera

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: P. juxtaspera is one of the two river toads. It can get as big as a small rabbit. The toad has extensive webbing between toes and is a good swimmer; strong legs make it a good jumper as well.The warts have thoroughly keratinized apices. The warts behind the eyes (parotic glands) are thick and long (as opposed to Phrynoidis aspera). Males up to 120 mm (4.75 inches), females 215 mm (8.5 inches) snout-vent length).

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: This species is widely distributed in Borneo and Sumatra. It probably occurs more widely than current records suggest, especially in areas between known sites. It occurs up to elevations of 1,600 meters. Found along rocky creeks and riverbanks. Breed in rocky-bottomed, strong flowing streams where the larvae also develop.

DIET IN THE WILD: Ants, other insects, spiders

REPRODUCTION: It breeds in rocky-bottomed, strong flowing streams where the larvae also develop.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list; least concern (LC) www.iucnredlist.org/details/biblio/54676/0

There are no threats to this relatively adaptable species.

REMARKS: P. juxtaspera secretes large amounts of highly toxic, milky poison from their warts when molested. Not only skin secretions of adults but also eggs and tadpoles are poisonous. However, large specimens are hunted for food in some areas: the toad is skinned, washed, and cooked. The heat denatures the toxins.

Color of Life Note: An example of cryptic coloration (coloring that conceals or disguises an animal’s shape) are the Borneo river toads. Their brownish-gray lumpy warty skin is similar to their rocky streams and riverbed habitats. Ref. California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life.

Rainforest, Borneo


Encyclopedia of life eol.org/pages/313980/details

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/with/5355461537/

WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-eh

Frogs of Borneo  http://www.frogsofborneo.org/index.php/bufonidae/143-bufonidae/phrynoidis/juxtaspera


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Mantellidae

Genus/species: Mantella aurantiaca

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color may be yellow, orange or gold. Eyes are black. Juveniles are black and green. Length to 3 cm (1.25 in).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic and very limited in west-central Madagascar. Found on sunny patches in the high montane rainforest (900 meters or 2950 feet)). Entirely terrestrial. Diurnally active.

DIET IN THE WILD: M. aurantiaca are entirely insectivorous. A diet commonly consists of termites (Isoptera), ants (Formicidae), fruitflies (Drosphila), and just about any other arthropod that can be fit into the mouth. Golden mantellas are known for attempting to eat anything, even if the taste is repulsive

PREDATORS: M. aurantiacas aposematic coloration, advertises the toxicity of skin secretions that protect it from most predators.

REPRODUCTION: Lays eggs on leaf litter during the rainy season. Egg mass requires high humidity, warmth and no direct sunlight, but not immersion. At about 10 days larvae have absorbed much of their yolk sac, the jelly surrounding the eggs liquefies and forms a communal pool for the clutch. A few days later tadpoles are washed into small pools by rain.

LIFE SPAN: About 8 years

Golden Mantella Frog9130971576_83b4631fe8_k


CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered   CITES Appendix II.
Though abundant in small areas, their distribution is extremely fragmented and limited to just a few hectares surrounded by land degraded by agriculture, timber extraction, fire, and expanding development. The pet trade until recently posed a threat to the wild population, but export has been successfully limited. The species is also being maintained and bred in captivity by some 35 zoos, aquaria, and other institutions.

REMARKS: Members of the genus Mantella have evolved to be very similar in appearance and behavior to the very distantly related poison arrow frogs of South America (family Dendrobatidae). Several species of each group are on display in the Rainforest.

Color of Life Note,  Color communicates anti-predator adaptations.: Animals with bright distinctive colors can be a warning to predators as a warning of toxicity. In the case of the Golden Mantella toxic skin secretions are an example of aposematism.
Ref: California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life Exhibit 2015

Madagascar Rainforest MA14


 Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Mantella_aurantiaca/

 ARKive  www.arkive.org/golden-frog/mantella-aurantiaca/

 California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014.

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608456457315/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-N5

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura (frogs)
Family: Hyperoliidae (sedge and bush frogs)

Genus/species: Hyperolius riggenbachi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Phase J (juveniles and many mature males) are green with light canthal and dorsolateral stripes. Phase F (mature females and some mature males) have a vermiculated pattern in yellow, red and black. Toes and fingers red. Pupils are horizontal and toes and fingers are red.
Males length up to 27–30 mm (1-1.2 inches), females larger up to 40 mm (1.6 inches).

female and some malesRiggenbach's reed frog18517011003_c5ff421b61_h

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Highlands of Eastern Nigeria and Central Cameroon. Found in wetlands and small wooded watercourses in montane grassland.

maleRiggenbach's reed frog19111242432_cdd15294a9_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Small invertebrates.

REPRODUCTION: H. riggenbachi breeds in still water near streams.

 egg mass belowRiggenbach's reed frog18691210596_603d27a367_o


tadpoles below

Riggenbach's reed frog19111466876_92958680e5_o

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Vulnerable (VU) 2014
Threatened by habitat loss caused by agricultural activities, wood collection, and human settlement.


David C. Blackburn PhD Associate Curator Herpetology California Academy of Sciences. personal communication 2015

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/56198/0

ARKive  www.arkive.org/riggenbachs-reed-frog/hyperolius-riggenbachi/

Amphibiaweb.org  www.amphibiaweb.org/cgi-bin/amphib_query?where-genus=Hype…

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19141066501/in/album-72157652559028013/

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