The red eyed leaf frog...
· Grows to about 7cm and the A. saltator grows to about 6cm
· Slender body with a narrow waist and long spindly legs
· Webbed feet with long sticky toes
· Huge eyes with red irises and vertical pupils
· Mostly nocturnal
· Diet consists of invertebtrates
· Lives in the lowland rain forests of central America – from southern Veracruz and the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, to Panama.
The red eyed leaf frog is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all the frogs – my personal favourite!
It is an extremely popular frog adorning many magazines, post cards, postage stamps and its exotic image is used abundantly to represent the countries in which it live.
These frogs are arboreal, meaning that they climb high up into the canopies of the tall palm trees in which they live, and the epiphytic plants (plants which live on other plants).
The red eyed leaf frog is a fairly quiet creature during the day, much preferring to be active at night when quite often it will climb down from its high canopy down to the lower branches in the forest – doing this most often during the breeding season.
During the breeding season, the male frog will wait until sunset, and then will call from his home high up in the trees.
As he starts to descend, he will choose his breeding site which often is a small forest pool that has formed due to the rainy season. The males will wait near these pools and call to the females to let them know they are there. This call, the mating call, is different to the usual call of the male and this attracts the females and informs them that they are ready to breed. The males space themselves out near the breeding site and 3 to 9 feet away from the forest pools.
The females, on hearing the call of the males, arrive and stop approaching the males just before reaching them. Then, once the frogs are in amplexus, the female lowers down into the water where she proceeds to fill her bladder. The water is used to help produce the ‘jelly’ which will surround and protect her eggs.
The female climbs back into the trees and finds a place to lay her eggs - during this time the male is still on her back, sometimes with his eyes closed, and just holds on. The females positions herself on the end of a leaf to face upwards and lays her eggs in a sort of soft stretched out mass and the male fertilizes the eggs.
Eggs take approximately 5 days to hatch. The jelly surrounding the eggs become more liquid and the tadpoles are able to wriggle around inside it.
Eventually, around the time of rainfall, the tadpoles wriggle down the leaf and into the water below. Metamorphosis occurs after 60 – 80 days.
The young frogs are green and to begin with have yellow eyes. The eyes turn red after about 2 weeks.
To find out more about these gorgeous frogs and how to keep them as pets, please click here
To find out more about frog reproduction, pleaseclick here...
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