New frog species discovery in Vietnam


This video says about itself:

Misty Mountains and Moss Frogs: Finding Frogs in Nests

30 July 2013

Jodi Rowley is a biologist at the Australian Museum discovering and documenting the diversity, ecology and conservation status of amphibians in Southeast Asia. Amphibians in the region are both highly threatened and poorly known, and Jodi and her colleagues conduct scientific expeditions to the forested mountains of Vietnam in search of rare, poorly-known and previously unknown species of amphibian. This video focuses on finding frogs in nests (yes that’s right- nests!).

From Wildlife Extra:

New pink and yellow frog discovered

April 2014: Biologist Jodi Rowley, an expert on Southeast Asian amphibians from the Australian Museum Research Institute in Sydney, recently found this striking pink and yellow frog in the remote Mount Ngoc Linh region of Vietnam.

The 5cm long frog lives in forests above 1,800m where the terrain is steep and rocky, and lacking in the standing water that might be expected to sustain frogs, but the research team found they thrived in water-filled hollows in the trees. The males have skin covered in keratin spines, which increase in size during the mating season and are thought to help females to identify males. The species has been named thorny tree frog (Gracixalus lumarius).

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Costa Rican frogs and spiders


Green-and-black poison frog, 17 March 2014

After yesterday, in the morning of 17 March 2014, still near the Sarapiqui river in Costa Rica. One of many animals there is this green-and-black poison dart frog.

Red-eyed tree frog, 17 March 2014

While a red-eyed tree frog was asleep under a leaf.

Masked tree frog, 17 March 2014

There was a masked tree frog as well.

Golden silk spider, female, 17 March 2017

In a big web, a golden silk spider couple.

Golden silk spider female, 17 March 2017

The female was much bigger than the male.

Golden silk spider male, 17 March 2017

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Common frogs’ mating season, video


This video is about common frogs‘ mating season, near Ruinen in the Netherlands.

Gert Gelmers made the video.

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Tree frog video


This is a video about an European tree frog.

Christ Grootzwagers from the Netherlands made the video.

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New marsupial frog species discovery in Peru


This video from Ecuador says about itself:

Marsupial Tree-Frog (Gastrotheca longipes) in the Yasuni

Dear friends,

This is a canopy species found in primary tropical moist lowland and montane tropical forest. A direct development species, its eggs are carried in a pouch on the females back. It is not present in modified habitats. The population status of this canopy species is unknown; this species faces no major threats; it is a widespread species with large areas of suitable habitat remaining. There is some localized habitat loss to selective logging and agricultural activities. It might be susceptible to chytrid infection, but this requires further investigation.

From Mongabay.com:

Scientists uncover new species of Andean marsupial frog

By: Jordanna Dulaney

March 05, 2014

The term “marsupial frog” might sound like a hoax, but, believe it or not, it’s real. Recently, herpetologists welcomed a new species, known as Gastrotheca dysprosita and described in the journal Phyllomedusa.

Unlike mammal marsupials, which typically carry their young in pouches on their torsos and are found primarily in Australia, the Gastrotheca genus of frogs, which contains 62 species, is found in the Andes region of South America and sport their pouches on their backs (also called a “dorsal brood pouch”). The female frog’s vascular tissue provides oxygen to the eggs, which she carries for three to four months until they hatch as fully-developed froglets and head off on their own.

This most recently described species owes its classification to William Duellman, of the University of Kansas. While announced in June 2013, the story of this frog’s discovery really began in 1972 when Fred G. Thompson, a malacologist from the University of Florida, collected the first specimen in the Peruvian Amazon. Thompson brought the mystery frog back to the U.S., and gave it to Duellman to identify and catalog.

The plot thickened when, in 1989, another research group both heard and caught another unidentifiable male in the same region. A second call was heard higher up the mountain, but rainy weather made it impossible to find another specimen.

“The jar containing the holotype [original specimen] of this new species has been gathering dust… I have been trying to clean up loose ends during the preparation of a monograph [a detailed study] on marsupial frogs,” Duellman wrote in his article announcing Gastrotheca dysprosita. “Thus, herein I eliminate a loose end by describing a new species.”

For his description, Duellman took meticulous measurements of the two frogs’ bodies, and compared them to known species. In life, the new species has bumpy, bright green skin with stripes of creamish and brown spots down its back and sides. Duellman describes the iris as a “reddish copper” color. The two individuals were found between 3,370 to 3,440 meters (11,000 to 11,300 feet) on the Cerro Barro Negro, a single mountain in Peru.

Little is known about the behavior patterns of Gastrotheca dysprosita since only two frogs have been found up to this point. Under the IUCN’s (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) guidelines, it’s impossible to make a guess at population size because there simply isn’t enough data.

Even the name of the frog is mysterious: dysprosita, from the Greek word dysprositos, literally means “hard to find.” The name would thus be translated as the “hard-to-find marsupial frog.”

“The name reflects the difficulty in finding this elusive frog,” Duellman states in the species description.

Citations:

Duellman, William E. “An Elusive New Species of Marsupial Frog (Anura: Hemiphractidae: Gastrotheca) from the Andes of Northern Peru.” Phyllomedusa 12.3-11 (2013.

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Save amphibians from wells


This is a video from the Netherlands; about a common frog which had fallen into a well. Often, falling into a well means death for frogs, toads, shrews and other small animals. However, in this well, a ladder enabled the frog to escape.

This video from the USA says about itself:

FrogLog: Animal Escape Ramp for Swimming Pools

This video shows how small frogs and other animals use the FrogLog to escape from swimming pools. The FrogLog provides an escape ramp for lizards, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, birds, bats, ducklings, and other small animals.

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Prehistoric frog’s anti-dinosaur armour?


This video is called The Evolution of Amphibians.

From LiveScience:

Primeval ‘Devil Frog’ May Have Sported Anti-Dinosaur Armor

By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer

January 29, 2014 10:00am ET

An ancient, predatory creature known as the devil frog may have looked even scarier than previously thought.

The monster frog, Beelzebufo ampinga, lived during the Cretaceous Period in what is now Africa, and sported spiky flanges protruding from the back of its skull and platelike armor down its back, almost like a turtle shell.

“We knew it was big; we knew it was almost certainly predatory,” said study co-author Susan Evans, a paleontologist at the University College London. “What the new material has shown us is that it was even more heavily armored than we imagined.”

The massive frog’s spiked body armor may have helped it fend off the dinosaurs and crocodiles that prowled during that time. [See Photos of the Devil Frog and Other Freaky Frogs]

Elusive lineage

The researchers first discovered a few bone fragments from a mystery frog in Madagascar in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2008 that they had enough pieces to identify the species, which they dubbed the devil frog, or Beelzebufo ampinga. The massive frog lived between 70 million and 65 million years ago.

When the team analyzed the frog’s morphology, they found that physically, it fit in with a family of horned frogs called the Ceratophryidae, which are now found only in South America.

But to reach Madagascar from South America, the frogs would have needed to hop along a passageway, possibly through Antarctica, that linked the two landmasses. But that route was submerged underwater by 112 million years ago, Evans said.

That would mean that devil frogs must have diverged from their South American cousins prior to that submergence, pushing back the origin of Ceratophryidae by more than 40 million years, Evans said.

More specimens

Over the course of the next five years, the team found several more bone fragments of Beelzebufo ampinga. In the new study, they combined all of the fragments to do a much more complete reconstruction of the devil frog.

The new analysis confirms the frog’s lineage in the Ceratophryidae family. It also downgrades the amphibian’s size — instead of being the biggest frog that ever lived, it may be closer to the size of an African bullfrog, which grows to about 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) across.

Even so, the analysis reveals that the devil frog was even fiercer-looking than previously thought. Past studies had suggested it had a huge, globular head; sharp teeth; and short back legs, but the spiky flanges and the plates embedded in its skin were a surprising discovery.

The frogs may have hunted like African bullfrogs, hiding before pouncing on a small mammal.

It’s not clear what the frogs used the body armor for, but one possibility is that the sculptured bones may have been an adaptation to a dry environment that allowed the frogs to burrow underground, where they were less likely to bake in the hot sun, Evans said.

But the armor may also have been protection.

“There were an awful lot of things roaming around that would have liked a bite out of a big, juicy frog,” such as dinosaurs, crocodiles and even strange mammals that once lived on the Gondwana supercontinent, Evans told LiveScience.

The findings were published Jan. 28 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Saving frogs from fungus disease


This video from the California Academy of Sciences in the USA says about itself:

Science Today: Stopping Chytrid, Saving Frogs

15 Jan 2014

Academy researchers are working to stop the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus to save amphibians.

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Frogs mating, and the bats danger


This video says about itself:

Risky Ripples

23 Jan 2014

When a male túngara frog serenades female frogs from a pond, he creates watery ripples that make him easier to target by rivals and predators such as bats. A túngara frog will stop calling if it sees a bat overhead, but ripples continue moving for several seconds after the call ceases. In the study, published Jan. 23, 2014 in the journal Science, researchers found evidence that bats use echolocation — a natural form of sonar — to detect these ripples and home in on a frog. The discovery sheds light on an ongoing evolutionary arms race between frogs and bats. Video by Wouter Halfwerk.

From The Why Files:

Menacing mating game: Frogs fear bats!

23 January 2014

Like any foolish fellow, the túngara frog lives and loves dangerously. To those in the tropical-bio-biz, it’s old news that this resident of shallow ponds ranging from Venezuela to Central Mexico is prey to frog-eating bats.

That croaking mating call makes a great target for the flying mammals with an appetite for frogs’ legs. But now we hear another reason why life is hard for the feckless frog.

In a study released today, scientists revealed that the croaking frog sends two separate signals to the bats: First, the mating call, which deters competing males while attracting females — and those hungry bats.

But the frogs power their croak by inflating and deflating an enormous air sac, which forms ripples on the pond that survive even after the frog chokes off its croaks after seeing a bat against the night sky

To test the interaction between the bats and frogs, first author Wouter Halfwerk of Leiden University in The Netherlands set up an experiment in Panama, using artificial frogs to simulate the appropriate sound, with or without ripples

Halfwerk and co-author Michael Ryan, professor of zoology at the University of Texas, found that bats would attack in response to the mating call alone, but the attacks increased 36 percent when ripples accompanied the soundtrack.

Frogs croak, and then croak!

This makes life difficult for the frogs, Ryan notes. To reproduce, they must call. “The males can stop calling, but they can’t take these ripples back, so the danger of calling extends for a few seconds. It’s amazing that bats are able to figure this out.”

The tests were held in darkness, so the bats must have been using their sonar — echolocation — to find the pattern of ripples.

The mating call is primarily to attract females, but it also shouts “Keep away!” to other males, and the competition doubled their “I’m here too!” responses when ripples followed the croaks. “If you look when they are calling, the frogs are spaced out,” Ryan says. “If another male is too close, they start to make aggressive calls, and sometimes they fight; I have seen them kill each other.”

Ryan, who first noticed the frog-bat system as a graduate student in the 1980s studying with bat biologist Merlin Tuttle, notes, “We have known for a long time that the bats can find the frogs.” The new study, however, is the first to show how waves created when the frog sounds off affects bats — and other frogs.

Now that they know that competing males are more responsive when ripples are present, the researchers plan to see how females act with and without ripples.

Live to love, but love to live!

If the bats have “cracked the code” of the frogs behavior, turning a mating move into a death dance, that could be shaping frog behavior. “We know frogs prefer calling under cover, compared to out in the open,” says Ryan. Not only do bats have trouble flying to the sheltered frogs, but they may also have difficulty detecting ripples with echolocation in the brush.

We mused: the frogs, like certain guys we could name, allow mating to trump everything, even mortal danger. “Through the entire animal kingdom — there are exceptions — but most of the attributes that make an animal sexy or beautiful can be very costly. Men die before women in part because testosterone has a negative effect on the immune system.”

Every time an animal communicates, it creates a disturbance in the environment, and that’s especially true for the “look-at-me” mating messages. “The question I have,” Ryan adds, “is how many of these incidental things that we animals do become fodder for another animal that is looking to parasitize, to lay eggs” or grab dinner?

Do some showboating, and a biological big brother may be bugging your channel, Ryan says. “Males have to make themselves more conspicuous to females; to call louder, to wear brighter colors, do fancy dances. But all of this also makes them more conspicuous to predators.”

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Frog conservation in Madagascar


This video is called Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) Calling.

From Wildlife Extra:

Silicone implants could play a part in saving one of the world’s smallest and most spectacular frogs

January 2014: Conservationists are trialling a technique to tag a population of 80 golden mantella frogs with a tiny amount of fluorescent silicone gel under the skin on their legs. The hope is that the implants will ultimately enable the identification and tracking of wild populations in their native Madagascar – a move which could help to protect the species.

Dr Gerardo Garcia, Chester Zoo’s curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates said: “The technique of injecting a small coloured implant under the skin has never been attempted on these tiny golden mantella frogs before. However, if it works successfully on our captive animals in the UK, then we’ll be replicating this in the wild in Madagascar.

“In the short-term we hope these tags will allow us to identify each of the groups of frogs – something that’s currently very, very difficult given that they are all about the size of a thumb nail and look the same. At Chester, we need to be able to tell them apart for our own conservation-breeding purposes.”

The 20mm-long frogs are classed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

A programme devised to protect golden mantellas and all other amphibians in Madagascar was set up in 2006. The strategy aims to equip local conservationists with the skills needed to establish safety-net populations of amphibians in captivity, out of the reach of a killer fungus that has devastated amphibian populations worldwide.

Madagascar is one of the only places in the world where the deadly chytrid fungus – a disease which thickens the frogs’ skin and prevents the movement of fluids, causing a chance of heart failure – does not currently exist. However experts believe it is only a matter of time before the fungus arrives there.

Dr Garcia said: “Amphibians already face lots of threats, most notably from the destruction of their habitat. However the chytrid fungus could be the last nail in the coffin. It threatens most of the wild amphibian species around the globe with extinction and it’s probably the first time ever that a disease has threatened to wipe out an entire class of animals.

“That’s why it’s vitally important to buy more time and give the species a lifeline until the threat of chytrid can be resolved.

“Once we’ve assessed how effective the tagging method is on the zoo’s ambassador group, if it proves to be the success that we think it will be, we’ll deploy this method in Madagascar with wild populations.

“We have already collaborated with organisations in Madagascar to help to set-up captive-breeding centres which are now successfully promoting the species. If we can tag groups of frogs in this way before we release them, then we’ll be able to track where they go and what their survival rate is.

“This process could play a very important part in their long-term survival.”

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