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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 and describe it in my Thesis.




9 Responses

  1. Are any other species known to do this or is it just C. calarifer as far as you know?

    • Hi Louise, Thanks for the interest. As far as I know there are other species that do this leg-waving, but I think only one other neotropical hylid treefrog. In other countries there are frogs, such as the Asian semaphore frogs that have blue webbing and signal from around waterfalls. Apparently they do this to attrcat mates as their call is useless because of the noise of the waterfall. Some Australian frogs also use foot-flagging. You may have seen the harlequin toads on David Attenborough’s Life in Cold Blood’ which ‘wave’. These are realy interesting toads – I will post something about the ones I found in Costa Rica which were really beautiful. All the best, Andrew

      • Andrew, I saw on a nature show years ago a frog that communicated by waving it’s leg in a rather hilarious fashion, sticking it out, circling it. It was a frog that lived by a waterfall co communicated with sign language. This could be the asian semaphore frog you mentioned. My question is, where can I see footage of this frog doing its thing? I haven’t seen it for ages, I don’t remember the show, nor do I remember anything about the frog except the leg and the waterfall.

        Any leads?

      • Hi Adrianna, Yes I remember that programme too. It was the semaphore frogs from Asia as I remember. I saw some of these a couple of years ago and was amazed. I am not sure where you can see the footage of these frogs doing their thing but there is a species from Brazil that does the same. Please follow the following link to see them in action: https://frogblogmanchester.wordpress.com/about/foot-flagging-frogs/

        Hope its of interest!

        All the best, Andrew

    • Hi Louise, regarding your question if other species do show similar behaviour, e.g. have a look at this paper:
      Visual and acoustic signaling in three species of Brazilian nocturnal tree frogs (Anura, Hylidae) by Luís Felipe Toledo; Olívia G. S. Araújo; Lorena D. Guimarães; Rodrigo Lingnau; Célio F. B. Haddad

      best regards,

  2. I shall look forward to seeing the Costa Rican ones.
    I am most intrigued by the Asian frogs-the image of them engaging in such mating dispalys around waterfalls made me smile – I shall be looking into them alot more!
    And I do not need much of an excuse to get out my copy of Life in Cold Blood and take another look at the Harlequins.
    Thanks again. Louise

  3. […] of ‘leg-waving’ in phyllomedusines was first witnessed with these captive specimens (https://frogblogmanchester.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/tree-frog-leg-waving/ […]

  4. Andrew,

    Does Cruziohyla craspedopus do this behaviour as well?
    Is C. craspedopus in your collection currently? I’ve seen a lot about calcarifer but no vids for craspedopus.

    cheers and keep up the great work!,


    • Hi Paul, thanks for your message. As far as I am aware, C. craspedopus has not been reported engaging in this behaviour, but I would very much suspect that it does the same leg-flagging as shown by calcarifer. Sharing the soft call of calcarifer, with the extended flanges on the legs it would probably be even more effective at visual communication. We don’t have craspedopus in the collection, but I do have a bit of footage of these frogs calling in the wild if you would like me to post it up for you. Cheers for your kind comments Paul. All the best, Andrew

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