Rainforest frogs are the most diverse of all amphibians. There are 4,000 different frog species spread across 25 families living in all of the word’s habitats except polar regions. The pictured tree frog was photographed at the Tambopata Research Center in southern Peru.
Rainforest frogs are particularly diverse and vary a lot in size from the tiny northern nursery frog (Cophixalus crepitans) of the Australian Wet Tropics to the largest frog on Earth, the goliath frog (Conraua goliath) that lives in the African rainforest of Camaroon and Equatorial Guinea. Goliath frogs grow to an impressive 32 cm with a weight of 3.3 kg.
Rainforest Frogs – Diet
All tropical rainforest frogs are meat eaters, eating most things they can fit in their mouths. Another universal frog fact is that they all lay eggs, and lay them in various locations. They can be in leaf litter, on moist objects close to water, or in their own stomach in the case of the potentially extinct platypus frogs (Rheobatrachus spp.).
The tropics contain the highest number of frog species. Tropical rainforests contain such a high amount of different frogs because of the warm, wet environment. Frogs have highly permeable skin and require moisture so they don’t dry out. The waxy monkey frog of the Amazon Rainforest is an exception to this rule, as they can withstand direct sunlight whereas a lot of frogs are nocturnal to avoid losing water.
Rainforest Tree Frogs (Hylidae)
One of the favourite rainforest frogs, rainforest tree frogs can often surprise you as you clamber your way through the undergrowth. You can often look up to see some friendly eyes overhanging a leaf. In the Australia Rainforest you may see the attractive orange-thighed tree frog with its slender green, orange, and yellow legs with a lime green body.
Tree frogs have grooved disks on the tips of their fingers and toes so they can stick onto leaves, but in Australia many tree frogs actually lack these disks and live on the ground. One of the many interesting tree frogs in the Amazon Rainforest is the pictured, attractive glass tree frog Hyla punctata. These are a 4 cm frog you can usually find in flooded forest and they are a common species of the Amazon’s northern reserves, such as the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve and Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobatidae)
The famous tropical rainforest frog, poison dart frogs are beautifully coloured as a warning sign to potential predators. As their name suggests, these rainforest frogs contain some of the most poisonous amphibians on Earth. Amerindians use their toxin to help with catching their food.
The warning is not the whole story, however, as the frogs also attract and select their mates using colouration. The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve has a conversation section set up to protect some of these remarkable amphibians.
True Toads (Bufonidae)
Although commonly seperated into two groups, the difference between a frog and a toad is ambiguous at best. In the Amazon Rainforest you may find the Pebas stubfoot toad, Atelopus spumarius. These toads are generally brightly coloured with an attractive pattern and many are frog-like in appearance. A video is below of the golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) for example, which is actually classified as a true toad.
Unfortunately, the rainforests of Australia are full of the introduced cane toads from Hawaii. These cause problems for all Australian wildlife as they will eat any animal that will fit into their enormous mouths. They are highly toxic with large venom glands behind their ears. This means it takes an animal with special skill to successfully kill and eat them without poisoning itself. When walking through the Australian rainforest you will find a very high number of this species.
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum