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Amazon Rainforest Amphibians

The wet, warm and humid environment of the Amazon Rainforest creates a fantastic environment for a variety of Amazon Rainforest amphibians. Unfortunately, the world’s amphibians are under threat from a variety of factors and amphibian populations are declining worldwide. The Amazon still contains the highest diversity of different amphibians and many animals could be going extinct before we even know they exist.

Similarly to many animals in the Amazon, the Amazon Rainforest amphibians are less diverse in the eastern Amazon compared to the west. The western Amazon Rainforest has been found to support a much higher diversity of different animals, which could be linked to proximity to the Andes mountain range. Amphibian communities differ for each area within the Amazon Rainforest, which intensifies the need for research on these animals.

Harlequin Frog

Jumping Stick
Photo by Nature.Catcher Flickr

Harlequin frogs are really true toads in the genus Atelopus, but as they have a smooth skin and lack the toad-like warty appearance they’re more similar to frogs. Usually there is no scientific difference between what we know as frogs and toads. The pictured toad (Atelopus pulcher) is active during the day hunting the forest floor for small insects and other invertebrates. They have a funny behavior when disturbed by a predator and rock on their bellies holding their arms and legs out in a sky diving pose. While they rock, they show off their bright orange colored palms.

Climbing Salamander

Jumping Stick
Photo by Pavel Kirillov on Flickr

This strange looking creature is an Amazon climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa peruviana). There are over 70 different species of tropical salamander in the genus Bolitoglossa and they usually like living high in the trees. Here they prey on a range of prey like ants and other manageable invertebrates. What defends these apparently defenseless animals? Some can secrete toxins through their skin, which paralyses and often kills snakes (a major predator).

Short Nosed Tree Frog

Short Nosed Tree Frogs (Dendropsophus brevifrons) live in the trees and similarly to many frogs likes to come out at night. After mating, the female lays eggs on leaves above water. The tadpoles then simply fall into the water when they emerge.

Poison Dart Frog

Jumping Stick
Photo by Santiago Ron on Flickr

A different strategy of rearing offspring, these poison dart frogs don’t just let their tadpoles drop into water, but instead show a bit of parental care. They carry each tadpole individually up trees and let them go in epiphytic plants that collect water, often bromeliads, which contain pools of water home to different invertebrates the tadpole eats.

After the tadpole stage, they then move through an intermediate form between a tadpole and frog. The tadpole has grown legs and left the water adapting to life on land, but it still has a large tail remnant. The tail is slowly absorbed back into the body and the tadpole gets wider and more frog-like.

The final stage of a tadpole becoming a frog is when the tadpole has color and resembles a frog in all aspects, apart from a small tail stub that hasn’t been completely absorbed. After this, the frogs resemble the icons of the Amazon that we all know and love ready to begin the cycle again.

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