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Thank you!

Rebecca Lowe, frogwrangler extraordinaire!

Rebecca Lowe, frogwrangler extraordinaire!

I just wanted to say a big thanks to all those who helped me out with the animals at the Darwin Event, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Cheers Adam, Judith, Rose, Vicky and Rebecca, you were  stars!

Re:Tree frog and Harlequin toads!

Nyctimantis rugicepsI have been asked about the little curled up frog that I posted on my Christmas message. This wonderful tree frog is Nyctimantis rugiceps from Ecuador and curls into a ball in defense when discovered.

It belongs to a primitive genus and occupies the same niche as the crowned treefrog Anotheca spinosa in Central America. Both species, and others, adopt this unusual pose when threatened. They both live and breed in treeholes and use the hollows in which they live to amplify their calls – very cool! I found this amazing frog whilst takings students into the forest on a fieldcourse in the Payamino area, near the Sumaco Volcano. Here is a bit more on the find: Tale from the Bush.doc

Here is also a bit of info on the beautiful Harlequin toads I found in Costa Rica a couple of years back that relates to the leg-waving question by Louise Hudson. Hope you like the pics Louise! Costa Rican Atelopus

Not just frogs!

Had a great time meeting everyone at the Darwin Day and at the Science and Industry Museum yesterday. A big thanks to all who attended. Only one mishap when the frog jumped straight onto a little girls face  – and she screamed and screamed, and screamed some more!! Anyway, just thought you might like to watch a little teaching session involving a chameleon rather than a jumping frog. Not exactly Animal Magic but fun all the same! Enjoy!

Question Re: Agalychnis or Cruziohyla?

Apart from their DNA profile, Cruziohyla frogs are differentiated from Agalychnis species by the unique peptides in thier skin and their morphology – colouration, extended skin to their legs and calcars, and eye colouration (they have two colours to the eye: grey and yellow). The two genera are also separated by a difference in breeding biology. Although both lay their eggs over water, Cruziohyla species lay their’s within or over the hollow water-filled trunks of fallen trees in primary forest. Here is short clip of finding the eggs of Cruziohyla craspedopus in Ecuador (before the two genera were separated).

Leaf frog ‘leg-waving’ behaviour


Here is a short clip of communicative behaviour (vibration and leg-waving) in Cruziohyla calcarifer I thought might be interest. During work I did for my thesis in 2002 I described this unusual vibration and leg-waving behaviour in Leaf frogs for the very first time. I found that it was only carried out by the males, even while they are paired with females, suggesting that the behaviour is territorial rather than for mate attraction. I managed to catch this particular frog carrying out the display late one night just as I was about to leave the vivarium – Enjoy!

RE: Finding my first Splendid leaf frog?


C. sylviae (La Selva Biological Research Station) (c) Andrew Gray

Originally it took me about 5 years to find my first Cruziohyla sylviae in the wild. Up until then only very few had been found. I returned each year to Costa Rica in the hope of finding these wonderful frogs and worked in several locations before finding any trace. The first C. sylviae I ever saw was at La Selva Biological Research Station (a large female). It was such an amazing experience. I was so chuffed and excited I remember giving my female assistant a big kiss at the time – and my lips going numb through the fact that she had only just covered her face with deet! 🙂 The first egg clutch I found was deep in the Talamancan mountain range, a dense impenetrable jungle area that stretches from southern Costa Rica into Panama. Later, in 2000, I returned to Cost Rica to help film the species for the first time in a programme for Animal Planet. However, although we finally found and filmed some of the frogs, I wasn’t going to kiss my sidekick on that trip, Mark O’Shea! 🙂


Young Splendid Leaf Frogs

Cruziohyla calcarifer froglet

Metamorph of Cruziohyla sylviae (c) Andrew Gray

Thanks very much for all the nice comments about the teaching found on youtube, and also for the amount of interest I have received about the separation of Agalychnis  frogs highlighted in my last post. Please feel free to respond on the blog as well as by email about what’s posted, as your feedback in this way would also be much appreciated. I will answer all the questions I have received about the former Agalychnis genus of Cruziohyla in more posts I will make this week so they can be shared by everyone viewing. This subject is also quite timely, as we have some Cruziohyla sylviae froglets that have just come out of the water developing at the moment. These young metamorphs take about a week to absorb their tails and only after this period will they start to feed. It then takes a good few weeks before they start to change colour from grey to green. Here is picture of one of the larger froglets still with its tail – this one was huge when it came out of the water, measuring about 60mm from tip to tail! 

The adults we have look like this: http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/canopy/9884/calc2a.jpg and in the wild …. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597118.stm