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Red-eyed tree frog

Agalychnis callidryas

Description: Red-eyed tree frogs are very colorful. They get their common name from their bulging, bright red eyes. The body is bright green with a white belly and throat. The sides are blue with vertical light white to yellow stripes; the tongue is long and sticky; the upper legs (flanks) are bright blue; and the feet are bright orange. On their toes there are large suction cup pads that enables them to climb and cling to branches, tree trunks and leaves. They have long powerful legs that are used for jumping.

Size: Adult females reach lengths of about three inches (7.5 cm) and males, being smaller, about two inches (5 cm).

Behavior: These arboreal and nocturnal frogs spend their day resting on the underside of large leaves covering their bright body markings and at night hunting for food. They employ a technique called startle coloration. When disturbed or feeling threatened they flash their bulging red eyes and show their colorful feet and flanks, thus starling the would be predator hopefully long enough to escape to safety. Even though they spend most of their time in trees, they are excellent swimmers.

Diet: Their diet includes crickets, flies, grasshoppers, moths, other insects and sometimes smaller frogs.

Senses: Red-eyed tree frogs have excellent eye sight and a keen sense of smell that are used for catching their prey and warning them of predators.

Communication: During mating season, males use displays to attract females. This involves loud croaking and quivering, jumping from one leaf to another and rising on all fours. It is like a performance – a song and a dance.

Reproduction: Red-eyed tree frogs reproduce using a process called amplexus. The male climbs onto the female’s back clasping tight and fertilizes the eggs as she releases them. The laying and fertilization of the eggs take place on a broad leaf above water. The eggs are surrounded by a jelly coat enabling them to adhere to the surface of the leaf. When ready to hatch, the tadpoles inside the eggs move around ferociously until the egg breaks open. The newly hatched tadpoles fall into the water below where they develop into little froglets, this process takes about 75 days. They then leave the water and climb up trees to live as tree frogs.

Habitat/range: They inhabit areas close to water sources (rivers, streams, ponds) in rainforests from Mexico to Northern Colombia.

Status: Listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.