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Finding annae, the yellow-eyed leaf frog

Recently I spent 2 weeks travelling through Costa Rica, visiting many places that for a long time I have wished to go to but had not previously had the opportunity. One place included the famous La Selva biological field station and another was visiting our friend Brian Kubicki at the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre. These places gave me the opportunity to see many of the species in the wild that we work with closely in the Vivarium and also to see for myself the admiral amphibian conservation work being undertaken by Brian. Visiting the CRARC was wonderful and I got to personally witness the difference that can be made when supporting critically endangered species in the wild, such as the effective habitat modification Brian is conducting for the Lemur Leaf frog using funds raised here in Manchester. Wild male annae

Apart from all the many species observed here there was one species that I was particularly focused on finally seeing in the wild that occurs elsewhere in Costa Rica – a species that I spent all my time in Panama searching for last summer without success. The species is Agalychnis annae, the Yellow-eyed Leaf Frog (pictured right).

This is a beautiful species of leaf frog that we work with in the vivarium that was once considered an endemic species to Costa Rica until a single specimen was found in a remote location in Western Panama in 2010. The species was once relatively common throughout it’s range within the Central Highlands of Costa Rica, once even occurring alongside the Lemur leaf frog, but unfortunately it has disappeared from these areas in recent years and is now restricted to few sites around the capital, San Jose. Many of the areas it still occurs in are heavily polluted, unprotected, and are under threat by urbanisation and development. Due to these threats, and also the that of the deadly chytrid fungus, Agalychnis annae is now considered an endangered species.

Annae amplexusThere are a few places left for this amazing species but I am pleased to report that I was finally successful at seeing Agalychnis annae in the wild. Not only was I successful in finding adult male frogs calling around the breeding site but I was also very fortunate to come across an amplectant pair preparing to spawn.

Nearby ponds were also home to tadpoles of this species. It was an amazing experience to see such a cool frog in the wild and to see breeding adults really made this a special trip for me.


One Response

  1. Wow- the yellow eyed tree frog is beautiful! Great shot! I would love to go back and visit CRARC again.

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