Red-Eyed Tree Frog

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.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog Scientific Classification

Animalia
Chordata
Amphibia
Anura
Phyllomedusidae
Agalychnis
Agalychnis callidryas

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Animalia
Chordata
Amphibia
Anura
Phyllomedusidae
Agalychnis
Agalychnis callidryas

Physical Description and Appearance

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.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

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.

Distribution

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.

What Kind of Habitats do Red-Eyed Tree Frogs live in

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.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog Habitat
Red Eyed Tree Frog Picture

Lifespan

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.

Diet

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.

Behavioral Characteristics

  • It is an arboreal frog, meaning it spends most of its life in trees. It is a swift mover and can quickly jump from one leaf to another.
  • This rainforest amphibian is a nocturnal species and hunts at night. It sleeps during the day stuck to the bottom of a leaf with its body markings covered and eyes closed.
  • Male red-eyed tree frogs make a loud croaking sound while attracting females and establishing territory.
  • A male also performs the ‘quivering’ ritual by violently shaking its body to attract a female. This ritual establishes territory, as well as demonstrates strength.
Red Eyed Tree Frog Jump
Red Eyed Tree Frog Size

Adaptations

  • This arboreal amphibian is not poisonous, but it depends on camouflage for protecting itself. During the day, it remains at rest, covering its blue-and-yellow flanks with its back legs, shutting its red eyes, and tucking its orange feet under its belly. Thus, its vibrant green body blends with its environment and helps it in hiding among the foliage.
  • Its large, bulging red eyes are used as an anti-predator adaptation, as it helps in startling predators like birds and snakes. When a predator approaches, it flashes its eyes and reveals its colorful flank and feet. This sudden appearance of its eyes and other body parts may give a predator pause, allowing the frog to escape.
  • It has specially developed, large, suction-cup-like toe pads that allow it to attach to tree branches and leaves.
  • The red-eyed tree frog’s long, sticky tongue helps it in grabbing its prey.

Mating and Reproduction

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.

Red Eyed Tree Frog Eggs
Red Eyed Tree Frog Tadpole

Life Cycle

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.

Conservation Status

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.

Interesting Facts

  • Since red-eyed tree frogs oviposit on both sides of leaves, they sometimes fold the leaves to conceal their eggs from predators.
  • A change in their natural environment, a threat from predators, or any other danger to their life may cause red-eyed tree frogs to hatch early. This change in their behavior, physiology, and morphology is called phenotypic plasticity.
  • Tadpoles are usually preyed upon by water beetles, fish, and dragonflies, while adults are hunted by snakes, bats, owls, small alligators, and tarantulas.

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