The Dumpy Tree frog

A very popular tree frog that is by nature placid and easily tamed, some will readily accept food from humans.

Description:
This is a large, smooth skinned, heavy bodied tree frog. The color may vary from a very pretty jade to a rather bright green, to olive brown. Some examples have a bluish cast. This frog is also known as the “Australian Green”, “giant Green”, and the “white’s Tree frog”. The females of this species tend to develop heavy supratympanal folds that extend forward, and are best developed above the eyes. In some particularly old and obese specimens, these ridges may become so enlarged and pendulous that they actually droop over at least part of the eye, partially obscuring vision. Both sexes have a short and rounded nose.

It has been known that the blue coloration of the dumpy tree frogs may be caused by a diet deficient to a degree in Beta-carotene. Some Dumpy Tree frogs have a variable amount of white spotting on their dorsum. Breeding programs are now underway to increase the amount of white present. The glandular skin of the dumpy tree frog is resistant to desiccation. The belly skin is granular. The toe pads are large and although these frogs are proportionality stout, they climb well. The territorial and breeding calls of the Whites tree frog are a single, harsh, often repeated croak.

Size and Lifespan

Male dumpy tree frogs seldom exceed 3 ½ inches (9 cm) in length, but some females may attain a length of almost 5 inches ( 13 cm). White’s tree frogs are very hardy and long lived. Many captives have lived for more than 15 years, and it is probable that more than 25 years could be attained.

Natural Range

Male dumpy tree frogs occur throughout the Northern half of Australia and in Southern New Guinea. Because they are resistant to desiccation and drought, dumpy tree frogs are able to colonize in relatively dry regions. Examples from the Southern part of the range have proven to be quite cold tolerant. As would be expected, those from the more tropical areas of Northern Australia and Indonesia are more cold sensitive and must be kept warm throughout the year.

Captive Care

Dumpy tree frogs will thrive for years on a regimen of minimal care. They are quiet, are almost always ready to eat, and the somewhat comical appearance of the old adults endears them to many folks who otherwise have little interest in frogs. A 5 gallon tank is large enough for two or three new metamorphoses. A ten gallon will house two adults satisfactorily. In suitable warm weather, dumpy tree frogs may be kept outside in cages of wood and wire construction (containing plants and a water dish). These frogs are particularly at home in heavily planted green houses.
Daytime terrarium temperatures of 80 – 85 degrees and nighttime lows of 68 to 75 degrees are acceptable. The glandular secretions of a dumpy tree frog and most other frogs will irritate mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth) Wash your hands both before and after handling this frog species.

Breeding

Visual determination of the sex is difficult. Adult male dumpy tree frogs often develop a darker throat with looser skin than that of the female. The loose skin accommodates the swelling of the vocal sac during chorusing. Males are also slightly smaller than the females. To cycle healthy, heavy adults, provide a natural photoperiod and cool the frogs to about 68 degrees for a period of 60 days. After 60 days return your frogs to their natural regimen of warmth and feed them heavily. After about a week begin to use the hydration chamber. A healthy female may lay between 1,000 and 4,000 eggs. Decide on the number you wish to raise, and discard the rest. The jelly coated eggs will hatch in three to seven days. If conditions are optimum, metamorphosis may occur in just over four week’s time, but can take up to two months time. The metamorphoses will require many tiny, vitamin enhanced insects.



Posted in Species

The Spring Pepper

Color : Varies from light fawn color to dark brown and may be red or ashy in tone. There is a x shaped dark mark between the eyes, an oblique cross on the back, and bars on the legs. The underparts are light in color. The throat of the male is brown

Measurements: This is the smallest of the treefrogs! The male is about ¾ to 1 inch and the female about 1 to 1 ¼ inches.

Structure: The head is pointed; the ear is visible yet smaller than the eye. The disks on the fingers and toes are prominent. The feet are only moderately webbed.

Range: Eastern North America. It has been reported in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan.

There are few people in the United States who do not know the voice of the spring pepper. Where do you think this bad boy got its name? he males are well known for their particularly high pitched PE-EP, PE-EP, PE-EP, PE-EP, which they sound in early spring. Their call might actually confuse others into believing a large frog was making them! Spring peppers emerge very early in the spring from hibernation sites in forest debris, where they ward off the effects of freezing temperatures by manufacturing glucose.. As you may have guessed, the spring pepper eats small insects such as spiders, ants, and the like. The spring pepper has a lot of predators though, like snakes and skunks to be wary of.

Spring Peepers breed from March to June in Colder areas and October to March in Warmer areas. According to researchers, female spring peppers apparently favor older males, which call at a faster rate than their younger companions. Spring Peepers lay a lot of eggs, typically about 900 or more a clutch! That is quite a lot of peepers, although it needs to be that way, for survival rate to increase.



Posted in Species

The Swamp Tree Frog / Chorus Tree Frog

Color – Changeable from a color so dark that it is nearly black, to a flesh color. When light, the coloration may be bluish or ash grey, fawn color, or even salmon or red in tone. Iris golden or copper colored. There is a dark stripe which begins at the muzzle and extends through the eye and ear, and less conspicuously to the middle of the side of the body or beyond. This dark color is bordered below by a light band which extends to a point back of the arm. The immediate edge of the jaw is dark. There may be a pattern of dark lines or spots on the back, head, and legs. This pattern consists typically of the following:

  1. Three longitudinal stripes (or series of spots). The middle one of the three occupies the midline of the back and may fork posteriorly. The two others extend backward and parallel to this, from the posterior angles of the eyes.
  2. A transverse band between the eyes connected with the median stripe.
  3. Crossbands, or more or less irregular lines of spots, on the hind legs. The underparts are a yellowish white. The throat of the male is a greenish yellow.

Measurements – size small, i.e length of 1 inch, slightly more or less. The Body relatively is long and slender. Length of the head is variable. The greatest length is presented by the Western and Northern forms, frogs from the South have a muzzle considerably drawn out, and those from the East are distinguished by relative shortness of the muzzle. The length of the legs is variable.

Structure – Skin of upper parts are finely tubercular; under parts granular. The head is narrow and pointed. Nostrils much nearer to the tip of the muzzle than to the eye. Muzzle extends beyond the line of the jaw. Ear is small, only ¼ to ½ the diameter of the eye. Eyes are widely separated. Long and slender toes are scarcely webbed. The disks on the toes and fingers are very small.

Range – This member of the Hylidae has the widest distribution of any member of its group in North America. It has been reported from every state, with the exception of those of Northern New England, and Arizona, Northern New York, Michigan, California, Oregon, and Washington.

Calls – In the Southern States the Swamp Tree frog is heard singing in Late January and early February. The chorus of the Swamp Tree frog proceeds from ditches, marshes, and pools, especially low lands. They sing throughout many of the days, and of course during the night, until Late April, when the breeding season is over. The chorus is not that penetrating, it is soft, relatively low pitched, and is said to have a soothing sound that swells and recedes “like the waves of the seashore”. The Chorus is loud though, so it sounds as if a big frog were producing it. The call is given by the male only; and the inflated throat-pouch is large.

Characteristics – The Swamp tree frog stays in the Marshes throughout the summer and fall. We may sometimes hear the isolated call from marshy land during the hottest part of the summer, but on the whole, the species is rather silent except during the breeding season. These frogs seek refuge in the water when they are disturbed, but are very poor swimmers and soon crawl back to shore out on some miniature log. They are seldom seen after the spring moths owing to their minute size, their protective coloration, and their silence. They feed upon flies, beetles, and various insects that frequent marshy places.

The Swamp Tree Frog is slender and delicate in appearance. It has great power to change its color between light and dark shades. Each Swamp frog has its own distinctive pattern of color – we can scarcely find two alike among several dozens caught in the same location. What’s more, the given patterns in a single specimen may be wholly absent at one time, faintly outlined in another and prominently marked a third, all within the space of an hour.

The eggs are laid in shallow water in March or April. They are in small bunches of from 5 to 20 eggs and are attached to twigs and grasses in the water. The tadpoles both at the time of hatching and later, are nearly black in color. By April 20th most of the tadpoles have already budded and are about ½ inch long, are black in color, and are finely dotted with gold. Between May 26 and June 12, the final transformation takes place. The front legs appear, the toes furnished with the small disks. Since the feet are slightly webbed, the young frogs are poor swimmers and are drowned unless they have the opportunity to leave the water.

These young frogs are extremely delicate and shy. They look like full grown tree frogs, except that they are only ½ an inch in length. They usually hide under convenient leaves, sticks, and stones in the marsh.



Posted in Species

Red-eyed Tree frog

Description

Leaf frogs are a wonderfully adapted subgroup of neotropical hylid frogs. The red eyed tree frog has taken the pet industry by storm. Normally it has a green dorsum, but the shade of green is variable by temperature, other stresses, as well as the frog’s activity level. The dorsal color may be a dull olive green when the tree frog is cold or dry. A dark forest green may be assumed when the frog is resting, or if climatic conditions are ideal and the frog is actively foraging, it may be a brilliant leaf green. The flanks are blue barred with white or light yellow. The toes and fingers are orange. The belly is white. Red eyes have large and well developed toe pads and are adapt at both leaping and walking through their elevated homes. The irises are deep red and the pupils are vertically elliptical. This frog is now available in xanthic (creamy yellow with yellow eyes) and albino (yellow with red eyes) morphs. Red eyed tree frogs are nocturnal. Males produce their nonmelodious usually single- syllabled calls while sitting on pond edge vegetation.

Size and Lifespan

Adults range at 2 to 2 ½ inches. This very pretty tree frog may live for more than 10 years in captivity.

Natural Range

This tree frog, perhaps the most readily recognized tree frog in the world, ranges from Southern Mexico through Panama. There is a possibility that it occurs in Northern Columbia as well.

Captive Care
The caging for one or two red eyes can be as simple or complex as you choose. A ten gallon tank with a damp paper towel on the bottom and containing a small potted philodendron or schleffera will suffice, but a properly planted terrarium with a small waterfall or pond is more aesthetically pleasing. Red eyes are quite at home with a relatively dry substrate and a small dish of clean water. Keep the cage clean. A lack of absolute cleanliness will most assuredly transmit lethal pathogens to your leaf frog. Red eyes are nocturnal. They usually sleep soundly, scrunched down, eyes tightly closed, and feet drawn beneath them, by day, the frogs will awaken and hunt at night. They can hop, but often walk slowly in a hand over hand manner. In most cases a screen top that allows ventilation is more satisfactory than a glass top. Proper cage humidity should be maintained by misting the cage as necessary. Tanks of 29 – 100 galloon capacity lend themselves particularly well to naturalistic settings. Crickets, waxworms, butterworms, and most other insects are all avidly eaten. For adult frogs, the insects should be dusted with vitamin D3 calcium powder once every week.

Breeding

Red eyed tree frogs have a specialized reproductive biology. While being amplexed by a male, a female deposits her egg clusters on a leaf overhanging standing water. The red eyed female will often fold the leaf over the clutch, thus preventing some desiccation. The egg masses are contained within a gelatinous outer coating. The tensile strength of the gelatin deteriorates over time and at, or shortly following hatching, the tadpoles wriggle free and drop into the water where they continue to live their lives in what we call a typical manner. Red eyed tree frogs usually breed following a period of semi dormancy or dry season rest. Males vocalize in short, coarse, “chuckling” notes to draw females to the sites. Rising temperatures, increasing photoperiod, and higher humidity stimulate breeding. Clutches contain from 15 to about 60 eggs. One female can lay several clutches in one season. Normal room temperature is satisfactory for the incubation of the eggs of these tropical lowland frogs. Red eyed tree frog tadpoles will eat large quantities of good-quality fish food. The time period from hatching to metamorphoses is nearly two months. Feed them insects often in order to keep them healthy.



Posted in Species

Green Tree frog

Description:

This is one of the prettiest of the North American tree frogs. The dorsum is usually bright green but may vary from brown to dark forest green. The belly is white. Typically, an enamel white lateral stripe narrowly engaged both above and below by darker pigment is present. This may run from the snout to the groin, be foreshortened or, in some populations, be entirely absent. Tiny orange golden spots may be present of the dorsum. The skin is smooth. Males have a huge vocal sac and the call is an oft-repeated nasal “quonk”. Albinos of this frog are now available in the pet trade.

Size and Lifespan

A length of 2 ¼ inches (3.7 cm) is commonly attained. Females are more robust than the males and lack the vocal sac. Green treefrogs may live for more than six years in captivity.

Natural Range

This frog ranges southward from the Delmarva Peninsula and Southern Illinois to the Florida Keys and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Captive Care

Green tree frogs are very easily kept, but are quite difficult to cycle for breeding. Unless they are frightened, these are quiet frogs that will remain for long periods – sometimes for days- in one spot. In a terrarium they may be tightly huddled into a vertical corner. By an outdoor pond this may be on a cattail leaf or on other pond side vegetation. Because they are inactive, several green tree frogs can be maintained in a cage the size of a 10 gallon aquarium. Although, more spacious cages are better. Green tree frogs will thrive in greenhouse settings. Green tree frogs are found in humid regions of the country, yet they are seldom seen in the water, except during the breeding season. They do best in a humid, by not wet terrarium in which sturdy plants are growing upon which they can rest. Green tree frogs feed readily upon all types of insects. Crickets, wax worms, and butterworms are all avidly eaten. For adult frogs the insects should be dusted with a vitamin D3 powder once a week, and twice a week for baby green tree frogs.

Breeding

When attempting to cycle green tree frogs for breeding, allow the natural rhythms of the seasons to set the pace. Induce dormancy (or semidormanance) by reducing the temperature and humidity while maintaining a natural photoperiod during the winter months. After 75 to 90 days, again increase warmth and elevate the humidity while still retaining a naturally lengthened photoperiod. “Spring showers” can be provided by using a recirculation pump and a spray head for a couple of hours a night. Any water used must be chlorine free. Winters nighttime lows should be 55-65 degrees, and the humidity should be about 50 percent. The night lows of summer should be in the low to mid 70’s and the highs in the low to mid 80’s. The summer’s humidity should be from about 80 to 100 percent. Your green tree frog will eat less during the winter cooling. Once the summers elevated photoperiod, temperature and humidity begin; your tree frog will begin ovulation and spermatogenesis within a week or two. The male tree frogs will call while sitting on a leaf or while on the edge of the water receptacle. If the females respond and are amplexed, they may produce several hundred eggs in clusters of several dozen each. The tadpoles will hatch in three to five days. They have a big appetite and will eat good quality fish food. Within a few days after becoming froglets, they will have an insatiable appetite. Feed them heavily and frequently. Dust all of the food items with a good quality D3 calcium mixture at least twice weekly.



Posted in Species

Frogs Mating

Frogs are small and sometimes have to travel great distances to their breeding ponds. Many of them bypass the ponds with fish in them, for the frogs that try to breed there will not last very long. They may return to the pond where they were transformed from tadpoles, or they will be drawn to another place where they hear the voices of others calling.

The problem is frog fidelity – not to their mates but to their breeding sites, to which they return year after year. The longest migrations are recorded in Eastern Europe, where some frogs travel as far as 15 kilometers (9 miles). It’s difficult to change such deeply programmed directions; common toads have returned to parking lots. Although this is certainly not true for all frogs. Many species visit different locations in a single breeding season.

Many species begin to move when the rains begin or just before in responses to changes in air pressure that signal the rain to come. Depending on where they live, the trigger could be the start of the tropical rainy season, the spring showers and the melting snow of the temperate zone, or the deserts summer thunderstorms. A few species may already be at the pond having spent the winter in saturated muck at the bottom.

The males normally arrive first and set about establishing territories in shallow water. The females wait patiently for the great courtship ritual to begin. Let the songs begin! Now to the uninitiated, this cacophony might seem to be produced by some unmusical chorus of aliens. In the simplest terms however, it is a grand assemblage of males shouting “pick me”. Each version is the product of the frogs vocal cords, greatly augmented by the air sacs in its throat. When the sacs expand in the air, they broadcast the sounds, making the sound call of some species audible kilometers away.

By forcing air into the sacs from the lungs and then from the sacs back into the lungs, frogs use their sacs like bagpipes, allowing them to call continuously, even underwater. A few species that lack the vocal cords still call, however their calls can only be heard a few meters away. The vocalizations provide other frogs that are listening information about the size and health of the caller.
Males near one another commonly call in duets, trios or other small groups. It may be the dominate male of the group who calls first, followed at brief intervals by the males in the chorus. This allows the males to get their message across without being drowned out by the others.



Posted in Reproduction

Reproduction amplexus

In most species, the female frog selects the appropriate calling male and the breeding begins. Sometimes the site that the male is calling from is not a good location for laying eggs. However, he will mount the female anyways. She will usually end up carrying him to the proper nesting site.
Nearly all frogs mate by amplexus. This is a technique widely used by fish. The principle is that, if the two sexes are close enough together and plenty of eggs are released into the water at the same time, enough eggs will be fertilized to make the whole thing worthwhile. The male, who is usually smaller, mounts and grips her tightly either in the armpits or just in front of the hind legs.
The pressure from the male griping the female stimulates the female to release her eggs while the male releases his sperm. The two then mix, and fertilize the eggs. Amplexus also prevents other males from dislodging the male. Often though, amplexus is not as reliable as it seems. It appears that the frogs and toads have about as much trouble telling the sexes apart as we do. Male toads in particular will mount anything that resembles a female toad, including dead toads, the wrong species, inanimate objects, and male frogs.

The mounted male toad will then inform the other of his mistake by giving a series of low volume clicks or chuckles. Females also take advantage of this; they will make the call if they are not ready to release their eggs. Amplexus positions vary as well. Males of some species grip the female just in front of the hind legs, others straddle the female. In some species the size difference is so great that the male just leans against the female.

One species of frog takes mating to the extreme. A male harlequin frog defends his territory all year. When a female appears on his turf, he climbs on board and attempts to breed even if the breeding season is many weeks away. The female, as a result, must carry the male around her back for weeks or even months. This is hard on both parties as the female must carry the male around, and the male gets little to eat. Such extreme commitment to amplexus shows that a male has few opportunities to meet females.



Posted in Reproduction

Frog Parents who care

Parental care can be an element of frog reproduction. African bullfrogs and many members of the frog world guard their eggs. Poison dart frogs will look after the eggs and carry the tadpoles. African bullfrogs are famous for the ferocity of their parental instincts. They have been known to attack cranes, other bullfrogs, and even lions and people who approach eggs or larvae. They have also been known to dig escape tunnels between puddles and ponds so that their tadpoles can move to larger bodies of water.

Midwife toads mate on land, and the male sticks his hind legs into the egg mass, which adheres to him. He then carries the eggs with him as he goes about life until they are ready to hatch. At that point he carries them to the water and they swim away to start their own tadpole stage.

The Darwin’s frog of Chile and Argentina makes dual use of its expandable vocal sacs. The eggs are laid on land, but after a few weeks of development, one or more of the attending males takes the eggs into their mouth, where they will complete their development in the vocal sacs.

The male marsupial frog has hip pockets in which he carries the tadpoles and metamorphosing juveniles. Two or three months later, the pouch-borne tadpoles emerge as fully developed frogs. The eggs are initially laid in a clump on land, and the male remains near the nest. When the eggs hatch, the male becomes covered with egg jelly, and some of the tadpoles swim to him and his pockets. The remaining tadpoles have presumably failed their first and last test.



Posted in Articles

How to identify tadpoles

Although today we are well aware of the diversity of frogdom, we still thoroughly enjoy watching the development of a tadpole. Most current field guides help you to identify at least a few of these difficult little creatures. Such a key was one of the noteworthy additions to the latest edition of the Peterson Field guide series entitled Reptiles and Amphibians, Eastern/ Central north America by Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins. Although this is true, tadpoles remain difficult to identify.

Hatching and rearing

Tadpoles are not difficult to hatch and rear. The critical factor is the water in which they are raised. Most common forms will succumb to, or be deformed by, acidic water conditions. In some areas that are very prone to acidification of water, this human-made phenomenon, either singly or in combination with other, less-understood, atmospheric alterations, has caused the virtual disappearance of the once common specie of frogs, toads, and tree frogs. Other, less common species are on the verge of extinction. Because of this and a heightened awareness of the benefits afforded our planet by the tailless amphibians, many kinds of frogs, toads, and tree frogs are now granted at state or federal levels or both. Check with applicable state laws before collecting any specimens. Although most tadpoles are compatible if well fed, those of many species will become cannibalistic if perpetually hungry or crowded.

Filtration

Since filtration does much to cover many smaller mistakes and oversights, we feel that it is an important addition to the tadpole aquarium. Heed this with one word of caution. For several days after hatching, tadpoles are weak swimmers. Tailor and pumps and filters accordingly if they are too strong, your tadpoles may be carried into or against the filter or intake and then be injured or killed.

How many tadpoles?

Today, many tadpoles are kept communally, many seem to do better if isolated – one or two per container. When small numbers of small species are involved, the hatchlings can be contained from hatching to metamorphosis, in a Styrofoam cup. Manual cleaning is necessary at two day intervals. When larger numbers of tadpoles are involved, it may become necessary or desirable to have an automated system that allows the water to flow through many cups simultaneously. A recirculation system seems ideal and an inline filtration system is essential. A plastic blanket box or some other easily cleaned, durable container can be used as the main reservoir. In and out water lines can be cemented in place. The water will need to be changed every two or three days, at which time the entire system should be scrubbed, sterilized, and refilled. The communal rearing of large numbers of tadpoles, whatever the species is the easiest method but will require a large volume of water. A children’s wading pool, can accommodate such a volume and is inexpensive to boot. Depending on the size of the pool as well as the size and number of tadpoles involved, one partial, and one complete water change a week may be necessary for the entire developmental time span. The quality of your water will determine the frequency and degree of changes. A good filtration will help decrease the amount of care necessary.

Feeding

Besides algae, many tadpoles will eat such animal matter as blood, black and white worms, finely chopped earthworms, an- in a pinch- very finely chopped raw beef heart. Uneaten food should be removed within a few hours, as putrefied food will affect water quality. The tadpoles of some species are plankton feeders. With ample water quality, and proper feeding, tadpoles of many frog species will be metamorphosed in four to six weeks after hatching. Some may take longer, especially at cool temperatures. Some like the tadpoles of the Malayan painted frog may metamorphose in only two weeks. The rising of tadpoles can be a watch, learn, and enjoy project for all!



Posted in Articles

Life Cycle of a Frog

Most frogs spawn in water, where the translucent jelly that protects the eggs absorbs moisture and swells. Some egg clusters form huge masses that spread across the surface of the pond; others become compacted into globular clusters and attach to underwater plants. The fertilized eggs of some frogs are deposited on the ground, in damp leaf litter, muddy nests, or water filled bromeliads. Clutch sizes can vary considerably, to the single egg laid by the Cuban tree toad, to ads many as 35,000 lid by the cane toad.

As the single cell of the fertilized egg undergoes repeated division, the yolk provides nutrition for the developing cells. The rate of development varies, depending on the water temperature, the rate of evaporation, and other factors. By the time the larvae emerges from the egg, it has assumed the familiar tadpole shape: large head, small eyes, and a filmy, elongated tail. As the larvae develops, relying initially on external gills, it scavenges on plants or decaying matter using rows of tiny tooth like denticles inside its horny beak.

The tadpoles will sometimes form large aggregations, which may help to stir up food, increase the tadpoles temperature by mass absorption of sunlight, and even provide some protection from predators by both enhancing the statistical chance that any individual tadpole can be eaten, and in the same way as schools of fish, by having more eyes on the lookout and group movements that may make it harder for predators to aim at a particular target.

As tadpole’s metamorphoses into air breathers, the digestive tract shortens for a carnivorous life, the gills are replaced by lungs, the tail is absorbed, the legs develop, the head and body change to adult form, and true teeth appear. This may take as little as nine days or as long as several years.

Although most tadpoles are vegetarians, some are carnivorous, for instance the Spineheaded tree frog swallows the eggs of other frogs whole. In fact, there are a lot of oddities in the frog world.



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