Green Eyed Frog (Lithobates vibicarius)

Named for its distinctive green eyes (Green Eyed Tree Frog), this frog (Lithobatesvibicarius) belongs to a relatively large species of frogs that have highly variable coloration. Adults range from shiny metallic green to reddish brown on upperparts, with varying amounts of dark spots. It has a dark or yellowish-brown streak along the side of the face and body, bordered at the top by a narrow green-gold line. Along the upper lip it has a fine line. The limbs are green or yellow-brown, with some brown and gold mottling, while the back surface of the thigh, and often the underside, are bright red.

The green eyed tree frog has a fairly small and broad snout pointing upward. It has a membrane between the toes of the hind legs and the tips of the fingers expand into a very characteristic membrane. The females are generally larger than the males. The tadpoles of the green-eyed frog are large, up to three inches in length, and generally brown in color, with a lighter underside and a paler tail fin with dark spots.

The male call is characterized by its softness, which is believed to be related to the lack of vocal sacs. Males produce two types of calls that are described as a harsh trill and a shrill note. Calls are made up to five times in a row and can be made up of a maximum of three strident notes.

Sizes : Length: males 6 to 7.3 cm. Females 6.6 to 9.2 cm.

Biology . The males of this species usually call at night from the vegetation in the water, sometimes joining in choirs of up to a hundred or more individuals. Due to the almost silent calls of this species, these choruses can only be heard at relatively short distances.

The breeding season of the green-eyed frog can coincide with the beginning of the rainy season, between May and July, although eggs have also been found around November and some studies report that reproduction can occur throughout the year. The eggs are deposited in globular masses that measure about four inches in diameter and attach to vegetation or rocks. Tadpoles appear to have a long development period. Little information is available on the biology of the green-eyed frog, but adults are active both day and night.

Range . The green-eyed frog was widespread throughout the Cordillera de Tilarán, the Cordillera Central, the Cordillera de Talamanca in Costa Rica and western Panama, currently limited to Monteverde and the Juan Castro Blanco National Park in Costa Rica.

Habitat . The green-eyed frog inhabits humid mountain forests and rain forests at altitudes between 1,500 and 2,700 meters. Although it prefers dense vegetation, it has also been found near bodies of water in clearings or pastures. This species is semi-aquatic and breeds in shallow ponds, slow streams, or in puddles.

State . The green-eyed frog is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List.

Threats . Once common in Costa Rica, the green-eyed frog has suffered a drastic decline and was thought to have become extinct in the country in the 1990s. Fortunately, one population was later rediscovered near Monteverde and in 2007 a second near Monteverde. Juan Castro Blanco National Park. Unfortunately, the green-eyed frog seems to have disappeared from Panama.

The main cause of the decline in the green-eyed frog is believed to be the fungal disease chytridiomycosis. There is some evidence to suggest that under undisturbed natural conditions, the green-eyed frog may remain largely unaffected by this disease, but its effects could be compounded by a combination of other threats such as pollution , climate change, and loss. of habitat. Agricultural chemicals have been blamed for a high level of deformities and a lack of tadpoles in the recently discovered population near Juan Castro Blanco National Park.

Conservation . The conservation work of the green-eyed frog has included the evaluation and monitoring of the wild population, the local and global awareness of the conservation of amphibians in Costa Rica and the establishment of a captive population at the Chester Zoo, in the United Kingdom.

It is important to continue monitoring the status and health of the remaining populations of the green-eyed frog to protect and maintain the habitat of the species at the two known sites where it occurs. This rare amphibian would also benefit from new research into its biology, behavior and genetic diversity, as well as field work to determine if it is still found elsewhere.

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