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Seychelles Frogs: Sooglossidae

Physical Characteristics

A small family, the Seychelles frogs include only four species. They are Gardiner's frog, which is one of the tiniest frogs in the world; a species known simply as Seychelles frog; Thomasset's frog; and the family's newest member, Seychelles palm frog, which scientists named in 2002. The frogs have a typical frog appearance with hind legs that are longer than the front legs, long toes on the hind feet and shorter ones on the front feet, and large, bulging eyes on the head. They also have a somewhat pointy snout and horizontal pupils in their eyes.

The four species come in different colors. The upper body of the Seychelles frog is usually yellowish brown with black spots and blotches. The Gardiner's frog may be reddish brown or tan with or without spots or stripes and sometimes with noticeable, small warts. The newly named Seychelles palm frog is light brown with a dark, diamond-shaped pattern in the middle of its back and faded dark patterns on its hind legs. Finally, Thomasset's frog is dark brown to reddish brown with a thin, light stripe running from its snout down the middle of its slightly warty back to its rump. The back also sometimes has small light-colored specks on either side of the line. Whatever their color or pattern, however, the four species blend in quite well with their habitat. Males and females look alike.

Depending on the species, the adults may be very small or medium-sized. The Gardiner's frog, which is tiny enough to completely fit on a U.S. dime, only reaches about 0.4 to 0.5 inch (1.0 to 1.3 centimeters) long from the tip of its slightly pointy snout to the end of its rump. The largest member of the family is Thomasset's frog. This species usually grows to 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) in length. As in many other types of frogs, the females of each species are a bit larger than the males. For example, a female Gardiner's frog usually grows to 0.47 inch (1.19 centimeters) long and sometimes reaches 0.5 inch (1.3 centimeters) long, while the male typically grows to 0.4 inch (1 centimeter) long with a maximum length of 0.43 inch (1.1 centimeters).

In 2003, scientists announced the discovery of a new species of frog, known only by its scientific name—Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis. They placed this species in its own family, but have since decided that its nearest relatives are the Seychelles frogs. In other words, the new species and the Seychelles frogs have the same ancestors. Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis is a very odd-looking purple frog that apparently stays underground for all but two weeks a year, when it comes out to mate. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) considers it to be Endangered, or facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild, because it lives in a small area of mountain forests, and its habitat is disappearing as the forest is turned into farmland. As of 2004, scientists had only found 135 individuals, and only three of those were females.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansSeychelles Frogs: Sooglossidae - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Seychelles Frog (sooglossus Sechellensis): Species Account - HABITAT, DIET, SEYCHELLES FROGS AND PEOPLE