Perez's snouted frogs are found east of the Andes mountains in western Amazonia throughout Peru, Ecuador, southern Columbia, and western Brazil. (Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003; Duellman and Morales, 1990)
Perez's snouted frogs are cryptic in their habitats and resemble a dead leaf when observed from above. These frogs have dorsolateral folds running from behind each eye to the hind leg insertions, making them appear flat from above. Dorsal color varies and is typically a mottling of gray with light and dark brown. Five to seven stripes may also be present on the dorsum. Dorsal skin texture can be smooth or contain anywhere from a few to many tubercles. Different populations exhibit particular patterns of color and texture, although overlapping body types within an area can occur. Sides of the body are black. The underside of the body and limbs is white with black blotches and can also contain bright yellow blotches. These patterns vary by individual and region and may be mostly white to completely black with only a white throat. Yellow coloring may be absent or abundant. Most individuals have a rounded orange area with a black spot in the groin. Perez's snouted frogs have a rounded snout and usually a cone shaped tubercle protrudes from the tip. This tubercle is prominent in some specimens from Ecuador, absent from some in Peru, while most individuals have an intermediate form of this structure. Members of this species also have three or more noticeable tubercles on the edge of their upper eyelids, looking like small horns or eyelashes. An oval shaped tympanum is visible behind the eye. The hind feet are slightly webbed. Jaws contain poorly developed vomerine teeth, where often they are only present on one of the two paired bones. A very small percent of individuals lack vomerine teeth altogether. Maxillary teeth are present in the jaw. (Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003; Cope, 1874; Duellman and Morales, 1990; Dunn, 1949)
Perez's snouted frogs undergo complete metamorphosis. Tadpoles are initially white, but eventually become brown. On the first day after hatching they remain motionless in the water. Hatchlings still have their yolk sacs attached to them and have mouthparts with two rows of upper and lower denticles. Tadpoles have an average total length of 10.5 mm and an average body length of 4.1 mm. Tadpoles do not have external gills. Tadpoles begin feeding on their second day post-hatching. (Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003; Duellman and Morales, 1990; Schlüter, 1990)
Perez's snouted frogs are unique anurans in that they do not lay their eggs directly in water; instead they are laid in a foam nest constructed of secretions from the female. Males vocalize with advertisement calls, sounding like four or five short, whistle-like notes, to attract a female. Once a female chooses a mate, the pair begins axillary amplexus which can last for up to six days. When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will move closer to the pool or water-filled log cavity where the eggs will be laid. The female initiates nest building during amplexus by arching her back, the male will then place his feet directly behind her cloaca and beat the secretions of the female into a foam; included in the secretions are the eggs which are fertilized as they are expelled from the cloaca. The male will beat the secretions for 10 to 12 seconds and then spread the surface of the foam by stretching his legs. Beating will resume when the female signals the male by arching her back again; this process continues until the nest is completed, which can take 30 minutes to 2 hours. Nests have been found between 60 and 70 mm in diameter and are hemispherical in shape. Average nests contain 30 to 40 eggs, but some have been found with as few as 12 and as many as 100. (Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003; Duellman and Morales, 1990; Schlüter, 1990)
Tadpoles hatch and emerge from their foam nests after three to five days, then drop into the pools of water under the nest. Time from hatching to complete metamorphosis is dependent on multiple factors. The depth, temperature, and drying rate of pools will affect tadpole development, as well as the amount of food sources in the pool. Density of predators and competing tadpoles may also play a role. It is difficult to measure the length of time for a tadpole to develop because many nests may surround a single pool and tadpoles will hatch at different times. Once many tadpoles are in a pool, individuals from certain nests cannot be distinguished. The estimated length of time for metamorphosis is 21 to 28 days based on lab observations. (Duellman and Morales, 1990; Murphy, 1999; Schlüter, 1990)
No records of post-nesting parental care have been documented. It is assumed that, after the nest has been created, neither the male nor the female guards it. Tadpoles hatch and develop in their aquatic habitat on their own. (Schlüter, 1990)
No information was found on lifespan in this species.
Non-breeding behavior has apparently been little-studied in this species.
Exact size of territory needed for a single individual is unreported and the habitat size requirements need further study. Adult frogs travel between nearby breeding pools during the rainy season. (Duellman and Morales, 1990; Murphy, 1999)
Perez’s snouted frogs are vocal communicators, a behavior typical in most anurans. Males vocalize the most and can produce a variety of calls, usually from the edge of the chosen breeding pond or water-filled cavity. They produce a distinct advertisement call to attract females to their nesting site and to make their presence known to other calling males. The call has been described (Bartlett and Bartlett 2003) as four to five short whistled notes. Advertisement calling can be heard during the day and night. They also produce a separate courtship call right before mating occurs (Schlüter, 1990). (Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003; Duellman and Morales, 1990; Schlüter, 1990)
No specific research on feeding habits of adult Perez's snouted frogs has been reported. A closely related species, Physalaemus albonotatus (also in the family Leptodactylidae), that occupies a range farther east in Amazonia, is an opportunistic insectivore. Larger adults tend to prey on larger insects and are found to consume more prey in general than smaller adults and juveniles (Falico et al, 2012). Perez's snouted frogs most likely exhibit similar feeding behavior, as insectivory is a common behavior in most anurans. Living solely on the forest floor, they most likely forage in leaf litter and near fallen trees, as this is where they are most commonly found in the field. Tadpoles are herbivorous and eat plant material in temporary breeding pools (Murphy, 1999). (Duellman and Morales, 1990; Falico, et al., 2012; Murphy, 1999)
Tadpoles are heavily preyed on by insect larvae that often share their pools. Adult, aquatic insects, and rarely vertebrates will also prey on Perez's snouted frog tadpoles (Murphy, 1999). Being a small, presumably non-toxic vertebrate, they likely have many predators in their habitat, perhaps including snakes, birds, and mammals. Their cryptic coloration makes Perez's snouted frogs well-suited to hide from predators. Their leaf-shaped bodies allows for excellent camouflage on the forest floor. (Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003; Murphy, 1999)
Perez's snouted frogs function as small insectivorous predators of the leaf litter community in the rainforest. In turn, they are eaten by larger predators and undoubtedly have internal parasites, but no specific research on energy consumption or contribution was found.
These frogs are presumably beneficial and probably eat insects that may be human pests, but are likely not sufficiently common to have a significant effect.
Perez's snouted frogs are harmless to human interests.
Perez's snouted frogs have a very wide distribution in western Amazonia and the species as a whole appears to be under no dire threats to extinction. They are a tolerant group of frogs and can survive some habitat disturbances, being found both in primary and secondary forests. Localized populations are in decline in areas of agriculture and logging. (Angulo, et al., 2004; Bartlett and Bartlett, 2003)
Kelsey Bowe (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae. (Compare to zooplankton.)
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
"many forms." A species is polymorphic if its individuals can be divided into two or more easily recognized groups, based on structure, color, or other similar characteristics. The term only applies when the distinct groups can be found in the same area; graded or clinal variation throughout the range of a species (e.g. a north-to-south decrease in size) is not polymorphism. Polymorphic characteristics may be inherited because the differences have a genetic basis, or they may be the result of environmental influences. We do not consider sexual differences (i.e. sexual dimorphism), seasonal changes (e.g. change in fur color), or age-related changes to be polymorphic. Polymorphism in a local population can be an adaptation to prevent density-dependent predation, where predators preferentially prey on the most common morph.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
breeding takes place throughout the year
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Bartlett, R., P. Bartlett. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Cope, E. 1874. On Some Batrachia and Nematognathi Brought from the Upper Amazon by Prof. Orton. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 26: 120-137.
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Murphy, P. 1999. The Interplay Between Uncertain Juvenile Recruitment and Reproductive Strategy in the Neotropical Frog Edalhorina perezi. Duke University: Department of Zoology, Duke University.
Schlüter, A. 1990. Reproduction and Tadpole of Edalorhina perezi (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae). Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 25: 49-56.