Narrow-Mouthed Frogs: Microhylidae
Pyburn's Pancake Frog (otophryne Pyburni): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Pyburn's pancake frog has a wide rather flat back and a pointy snout that makes it look somewhat like a dead leaf. The frog is brown to yellowish gray with scattered, tiny, blue to cream speckles and sometimes dark stripes or other markings. It also has two, thin, light yellow to cream stripes, each of which begins at the snout and runs down the side of the body to the hind leg. The stripe widens onto the back where it has a ragged edge. The pancake frog's legs are short. The females can reach 2.2 inches (5.6 centimeters) long from snout to rump, while the males are a bit smaller.
Geographic range: Pyburn's pancake frog lives in northern South America, from southeastern Colombia in the west to French Guiana in the east.
Habitat: For most of the year, this frog moves along sandy ground in the rainforest. When it breeds, however, it enters the water of a nearby stream, which is also where the eggs hatch and tadpoles grow.
Diet: Scientists are not sure exactly what this frog eats, but they think it probably eats ants, which is what other closely related frogs eat.
Behavior and reproduction: Scientists know little about this frog outside of its breeding behavior, but they think the frog remains tucked away underground most of the time. When it breeds, the males call females from hidden spots near a stream. These hiding places may be underneath piles of leaves or inside tangles of plant and tree roots that poke up from the ground. The females lay eggs, which can be
0.2 inches (5 millimeters) across, in the quiet ponds of water or nearby. The eggs hatch into tadpoles that have sharp teeth, which they perhaps use to sift out sand as they suck water into their mouths. They then filter out tiny organisms from the water and eat them. The tadpoles scoot among leaves in the small stream where they were born until they develop into froglets and hop onto land.
Pyburn's pancake frog and people: People very rarely see this frog in the wild.
Conservation status: The World Conservation Union (IUCN) does not consider Pyburn's pancake frog to be at risk. This frog lives in a fairly large area. Logging, farming, and other activities are under way in part of its area and may be hurting the frogs that live there, but people have still not bothered most of the frog's habitat. Currently, Pyburn's pancake frog remains a common species. ∎
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