Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Amphibians » Leptodactylid Frogs: Leptodactylidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Leptodactylid Frogs And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Leptodactylid Frogs: Leptodactylidae - Behavior And Reproduction

species eggs water inside

Although some species in this family are active during the daytime, most of them usually stay out of sight while the sun is shining and move about after dark. During the day, they typically hide under rocks or logs, inside dark cracks and burrows, or tucked into the leaves of plants. Some of the species, like the Surinam horned frog, have camouflage colors and eyebrow "horns" that help the frog to look like a leaf when it is nestled in a pile of dead leaves on the ground. Most leptodactylid frogs do their hunting at night.

To protect themselves against predators, the majority of the frogs in this family simply try to hop away. Others will stay still and hope their camouflage is good enough to keep them hidden. If an attacker comes too close, some species will use other defensive methods. For example, the helmeted water toad takes a big gulp of air to blow up its body, stands up as tall as possible on all four legs, opens wide its mouth, and snaps at the attacker. Since males of this species can reach 4.8 inches (12 centimeters) long, and females can grow to a whopping 12.8 inches (32 centimeters), they can convince many predators to back off.

Some leptodactylid frogs that live in areas with particularly dry seasons survive the weather by burrowing into the mud left on the bottom of disappearing pools of water. Budgett's frog is an example. It digs deep in the mud until it is completely covered, then sheds its outer layers of skin, which it wears like a blanket around its body. The dead skin cocoon helps the frog to stay moist inside during the dry period, which may last many weeks. When the rainy season returns, the water drenches the ground, softens up the cocoon, and the frog crawls out of its burrow.

Many of the frogs that live in climates with both dry and wet seasons mate in the rainy season. Some of those that live in areas that are wet and warm all year may mate during only a short time each year, or they may mate off and on all year long. Regardless of when they mate, they kick off a mating period with the calls of the males. Some, like the Cururu lesser escuerzo, call from water, but Perez's snouted frog and others call from their hiding places on land. Some males, including gray four-eyed frogs, do not call. When a female approaches, the male typically climbs onto her back and hangs on by either clinging to her at her front legs or in front of her hind legs. This piggyback position is called amplexus (am-PLEK-sus). Those frog pairs that are on land hop and crawl over to the water. Those that are already in the water mate there. While the male is still on her back, the female lays her eggs.

The females of some species, like the warty tree toad, drop their eggs in the water, and they develop into tadpoles there. Other species, like the Túngara frog, lay their eggs in foam nests. Depending on the species, one or both adults make the nest by using their hind legs to whip up the eggs, water, and some mucus from their bodies until it turns into a frothy foam. The eggs hatch into tadpoles inside the foam. Depending on the species, the tadpoles may leave the nest and turn into froglets in the water, or they may stay inside and make the change inside the nest. The females of few species in this family, including the Puerto Rican coqui, mate and lay their eggs in plants that grow in trees. In the case of the Puerto Rican coqui, the male then takes charge of the nest, often sitting on top of them. These eggs skip the tadpole stage and hatch right into froglets. The golden coqui is the only member of the family to give birth to froglets. Instead of laying her eggs, the female keeps them inside her body, where they hatch into froglets. She then gives birth to the live young. The females in some species lay a few dozen eggs, but others can lay hundreds at a time. Usually the biggest frogs have the greatest number of eggs.


Until recently, no frogs lived in Hawaii. When the 2- to 2.5-inch-long frog, called the Puerto Rican coqui, hitchhiked to Hawaii in some plants, it found a good place to live and multiply. It started to do what it does naturally: After the sun sets, the males performed their two-part calls: koh-kee, koh-kee. People in Hawaii, however, were used to a quieter night, and some soon began complaining about the "racket" from the frogs, claiming that it disturbed their sleep and would possibly turn away island visitors. Despite their grumbles, the frog still lives in Hawaii and is doing well there.

Leptodactylid Frogs: Leptodactylidae - Leptodactylid Frogs And People [next] [back] Leptodactylid Frogs: Leptodactylidae - Diet

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