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The Annae and eye

Agalychnis annae eye

Yellow-eyed Leaf Frog, A. annae (c) Adam Bland

The Yellow-eyed Leaf Frog, Agalychnis annae, was described in 1963 due the yellow colour of its eye being recognised from specimens in the wild. Until then specimens of this species from Costa Rica were thought to belong to the species known as Agalychnis moreletii, another species occurring in Central America, because in alcohol preserved specimens (which lacked colour) looked exactly the same.

Eye coloration adds to the effectiveness of flash coloration used by Leaf frogs as a defence strategy and is also a defining taxonomic character of many species.


A. lemur (Night)


A. lemur (Day)

In some species, such as the Lemur Leaf Frog, Agalychnis Lemur, the eye colour can even change between day and night, adding to this frogs’ use of  cryptic coloration.

Splendid leaf frog eyes

The Splendid Leaf Frog, Cruziohyla calcarifer, actually has two colourations to its iris – yellow and grey. When sleeping this species has no nictating membrane to conceal bright coloration, so the centre, which is still visible, is the grey colour.

However, when it fully awakes the muscles around the eye expand and as the eye opens fully the yellow coloration now becomes visible, allowinging the striking bright eye coloration this species is known for. The same adaptation is is also shown in the sister species, Cruziohyla craspedopus. Find out more about these species’ eyes and read about Leaf frog eye coloration research by one of my past students here

Eye Rotation in Phyllomedusine tadpoles – Vol. 21; No.3

Finding A. annae (Yellow-eyed Leaf Frog)     

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