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What's Hopping In Costa Rica?

Have you ever been frogging? Or do you simply enjoy going out to look for frogs to identify and observe them?


BY OLIVIA ISLAS

May 16, 2023

 

With more than 150 known species of frogs and toads in Costa Rica it's a froggers paradise! The rainforest is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. The number of unique frog and toad species living there reflects that. Even today there are still unknown species to be discovered in the dense rainforests that these creatures call home. Additionally, due to their popularity there are several locations all across the country that offer guided/unguided frog tours to help visitors safely see and enjoy these interesting creatures.


These sometimes slimy amphibians are essential to the ecosystem as a main consumer of the numerous insects that dwell there. I thought it would be fun to point out some of the most dazzling frogs you might encounter on your next adventure to this interesting region.


We probably can all recognize the famous red-eyed treefrog, whose scientific name is (Agalychinis callidryas). They are commonly found in humid habitats near ponds, or other small bodies of water. They are found in the Neotropical rainforests from southern Mexico, Central America, and the northern regions of South America. As an arboreal frog they enjoy the nearby trees as well. They are equipped with large fingers that act as tiny suction cups which allow them to stick to flat surfaces.


Those bright eyes and colorful body have a specific purpose. They spend most of their time resting on leaves unless startled by a predator (usually aviary). When that happens they open their eyes wide and extend their bright feet out startling the predator enough to make good use of their exemplary jumping skills.


The Infamous Poison Dart Frog (Family Dendrobatidae)

These beautiful frogs come in a variety of colors and style variations. Costa Rica has a total of eight different species of Poison Dart frogs. They live in the same neotropical habitats as the tree frogs however they often prefer covered dark areas closer to the ground, like under a leaf or moss.

You don't need to be afraid of these fashionable frogs. The poison on most of their bodies isn't powerful enough to cause problems without breaking the skin. However, these little fellows are fragile and you may have some hidden cuts somewhere so best to be safe than sorry. The poison are toxic alkaloids which come from the insects they eat and are produced onto their skin after digestion.

The most toxic of all the poison dart frogs is Phyllobates Terribilis which produces barachotoxin and homobatrachoxin 20 times of any other frog.


To put a face to the name, here's a photo on the right of the Golden Poison Dart Frog.



The Glass Frog Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni

I close this section with this pretty new friend. Small in size, these extraordinary frogs dwell near vibrant streams, or prefer the moist rainforest. They are found in several Central and South American regions however they are most prevalent in Costa Rica. They are arboreal like our tree frogs and share many similarities except for the forward facing golden eyes and yellow speckles on their backs. They are very fragile little frogs so heavy rainfall poses a dangerous threat. A single raindrop hit directly on them has been known to kill these poor guys. There are 14 known subspecies of glass frogs. As it happens, what they eat specifically is unknown, however it's assumed that they eat small insects.


There are many more frogs to discover out there. Best of luck on your frogging adventures!

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