Tree Frogs Found in the Rainforest

Written by dawn r. levesque
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Tree Frogs Found in the Rainforest
Tree frogs prefer the rainforest canopy to shield them from predators. (tree frog image by yaros from Fotolia.com)

Tree frogs occupy rainforests around the world, including those in Southeast Asia, Central and South America. These amphibians can be found high in the rainforest canopy clinging to branches and tree trunks, underneath tree leaves and on the forest floor. "The high humidity of the rainforest and frequent rainstorms give tropical frogs infinitely more freedom to move into the trees and escape the many predators of rainforest waters," says the website Mongabay.

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Poison Arrow Tree Frogs

In the rainforests of Central and South America, more than 100 species of poison arrow tree frogs exist, varying in colour and pattern, according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. These colourful yet venomous tree frogs have stripes or spots ranging from red, blue, blue-green, yellow or white against a solid black; depending on the geographic area. The skin of these frogs is extremely toxic due to the insects they eat, such as ants that themselves have eaten plants containing toxins. The indigenous Amerindian tribes of the rainforest use the poisonous secretions on arrow tips or blowgun darts. At less than 1 1/2 inches in length, poison arrow frogs feed on spiders, ants and termites found on the forest floor and venture into the rainforest canopy only when breeding.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Found in the rainforest and known for its protruding red eyes, the red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis calidryas) has a neon-green body, webbed orange feet with distinctively blue and yellow streaks along its sides. These amphibians use their rounded toe discs like suction cups to climb trees and attach to the underside of leaves. They hide in the canopy of the rainforest in order to sleep during the day. If disturbed, the frogs "flash their bulging red eyes and reveal their huge, webbed orange feet and bright blue-and-yellow flanks," according to National Geographic. This defence trait, called "startle colouration," frightens would-be predators. Red-eyed tree frogs inhabit tropical lowlands of South and Central America near sources of water. Their diet consists mainly of crickets, moths and flies; however, they also feed on smaller frogs. With a lifespan of five years, the red-eyed frog reaches lengths of 2 3/4 inches.

Northern Dwarf Tree Frog

The northern dwarf tree frog, also known as the northern sedge frog (Litoria bicolor), dwells in the lower elevations of the northern Australian and southern coastal areas of the New Guinea rainforest. Northern dwarf tree frogs are often found perched on the long, slender pandanus leaves or the upper surfaces of other broad leaves and reeds. At approximately 1 inch long, the northern dwarf tree frog is one of the smallest tree frogs in Australia. In addition to its diminutive size, a narrow pale-white stripe starting on its upper lip and continuing along its side--where the green upper portion of its body or dorsal surface meets the cream-coloured to yellowish underside--and an orange marking on its thigh make the northern dwarf recognisable. According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, "[T]he dorsal surface can vary from bright to dull green, green with a bronze stripe along the dorsal surface or entirely bronze." Other distinguishing traits include smooth back skin and distinctive pads on its fingers with a trace of webbing and 3/4 partially webbed toes.

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