Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Species Spotlight: Rocket frogs

Calling male Rocket frog | Colostethus pratti
For at least the past few weeks, the Rocket frogs | Colostethus pratti have been putting on quite a show in our 'Frogs of Panama' exhibit. Originally, we introduced 9 Rocket frogs in the display, and the have subsequently bred so many times, it is next to impossible to get an accurate count now. I saw multiple age classes of these frogs last weekend. They are already the smallest species in this exhibit, so the froglets are quite tiny.

Multiple egg clutches can be seen in the exhibit as well, if you look closely. I typically see the eggs laid on horizontally oriented leaves. Often, these egg clutches are guarded by the male. Once the eggs hatch, he will transport them on his back to water so they can develop aquatically into froglets. This egg guarding and tadpole transportation behavior is common in frogs in the family dendrobatidae (Poison frogs). Though frogs of the genus Colostethus are technically Poison frogs, they are among some of the least toxic, which may be indicated by their drab colors, in relation to some of the more vibrantly colored Poison frogs.