- A-Z Animals
The red-eyed tree frog, as the name suggests, is a brightly colored tree-dwelling frog species found in the neotropical rainforests. Its scientific name, A. callidryas, is derived from two Greek words – kalos (meaning beautiful) and dryas (meaning a tree nymph). It is commonly called the ‘monkey frog’ because of its excellent jumping abilities and is often kept in captivity. Its conspicuous coloration, including the vibrant green body and red eyes, make it easily recognizable.
Size: It is a small amphibian species, measuring about 1.5-2.75 in (3.8-7 cm). The males are typically about an inch smaller than female red-eyed tree frogs.
Weight: Its weight ranges from 6 g to 15 g.
Color: It has a bright green body, which can become reddish-brown or dark green, depending on its mood. It is also characterized by bulging red eyes, vertical blue-and-yellow stripes on the flanks, and orange feet and toes.
Body: The skin on its back is rougher and thicker as compared to that on its belly, which is softer and thinner. It has sticky pads on its toes.
Tongue: It has a long, sticky tongue.
This frog is found in the Neotropical region, ranging from southern Mexican states of Veracruz and Oaxaca to northern Columbia and central Panama, as well as through southwestern Costa Rica and southwestern Nicaragua to eastern Panama.
It inhabits the areas near ponds and rivers, which are located in humid lowlands and rainforests where the daytime temperature varies between 24 °C and 29 °C. The nighttime temperature, on the other hand, ranges from 19 °C to 25 °C, with humidity at approximately 80-100 percent.
The red-eyed tree frog lives for about five years in the wild. It survives much longer in captivity, with its life expectancy ranging from eight to 12 years.
This arboreal frog species is a carnivore, and it feeds mostly on insects. It is an ambush predator that preys on flies, crickets, moths, grasshoppers, and even smaller frogs. Tadpoles prefer eating pinhead crickets and fruit flies.
Mating usually takes place in the rainy season. The male performs the quivering ritual by violently shaking the branch on which it sits to increase the likelihood of being spotted by a mate and keep rivals at bay. It also produces loud croaking sounds to capture the attention of a female.
The mating process, called amplexus, involves a male clasping onto the female when its eggs are mature. As the eggs emerge from a female, the male inseminates them and remains on its back until all the eggs are laid. Amplexus may take anywhere from several hours to a few days to complete.
A female red-eyed tree frog lays a clutch of approximately 40 eggs on a leaf that is located above a large pool of water or a pond. It produces a jelly-like sticky substance that binds the eggs together, thereby protecting them from dehydration and splitting. The eggs hatch after 6-7 days and the hatchlings emerge as tadpoles that fall into the water body below. These tadpoles generally stay in the water for several weeks or months until they transform into frogs.
The red-eyed tree frog undergoes four distinct life cycle stages – tadpole, tadpole with legs, froglet, and adult frog. In the tadpole phase, a red-eyed tree frog breathes through its gills while it swims with the help of its tail. It starts sprouting its legs when it is 6-9 weeks old. It enters the young frog or froglet stage when it is 2-3 months old. It metamorphoses into an adult frog within four months of age.
The IUCN Red List has classified the red-eyed tree frog as Least Concern because of its large population and wide distribution. Deforestation and collection for the pet trade, however, have caused a slight decline in its population.