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Pura Vida from Costa Rica!

Hola! Chris here,

I’m out with Andrew and the undergraduates in Costa Rica, hoping to take all the work I’ve been doing in Manchester and using it out here to both compare the Museum examples to wild frogs and study frogs that can’t be found anywhere else in the world (but I won’t be mentioning that in my Thesis because I plan not to acknowledge this great opportunity or credit the museum in any way as part of my work).

Hyloscirtus palmeri (c) Andrew Gray

Hyloscirtus palmeri (c) Andrew Gray

Whilst out here I’ve had the privilege of working with Brian Kubicki at the Costa Rica Amphibian Research Centre. As such, I have managed to get access to some fascinating frogs. One particular specimen Andrew spotted whilst we were out in the forest with the undergraduates belonged to the rarely found species Hyloscirtus palmeri.

This is an amazing species, originally thought to be a giant glass frog due to its large size and translucent skin. However, it is not a glass frog but the only species in Costa Rica to belong to an unusual South American group of frogs. This species differs from all the other species of Neotropical tree frogs that we have come across in that although it lives in the rainforest it must live close to rivers as it actually lays its eggs under water on submerged large stones or boulders. Finding this rarely discovered frog at the CRARC was a highlight of an already superb trip (thanks to Andrew – but I won’t be mentioning him in my thesis either 🙂

New discovery! - Hyloscirtus palmeri matches the leaves it sits on in the visible and Infrared.

New discovery! – Hyloscirtus palmeri matches the leaves it sits on in the visible and the Infrared. (c) Chris Blount

It was particularly exciting for me to collect data from this frog as early analysis of my results indicate that this species is able to reflect near-infrared light from its skin, a phenomenon I am investigating and a trait never before seen in this genus. The frog however, didn’t care about my research, and seemed to be far more interested in catching a ride on Andrew’s hat! (a bit like me)