Amazon Milk Frog

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Trachycephalus resinifictrix

DIETInsects, other invertebrates, and small amphibians

RANGESouth America - Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela

HABITATTropical rainforest canopy

Amazon Milk Frog

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Hylidae
Genus: Trachycephalus
Species: resinifictrix

Status: Least Concern

Amazon milk frogs are a light gray color with patterns of brown or black banding. Juveniles show stronger contrast which fades as they age. Their skin may become bumpy with age. They range from 2.5 – 4 inches in length and are one of the largest frogs in South America. They are sexually dimorphic in size; the males are smaller than the females. Amazon milk frogs have large toe pads that allow for excellent climbing. The name “milk frog” does not refer to their coloration; it refers to the poisonous secretions this frog may secrete when threatened. This secretion is not only used to deter predators but it is used to also keep the frog hydrated.

Other Common Names: Mission Golden-eyed Tree Frog, Blue Milk Frog, Boatman Frog

Habitat/Range:
Amazon milk frogs are found in northern South America. They are commonly found in the countries of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. These frogs will spend their entire lives in the tropical rainforest canopy. They will rarely, if ever, descend to the ground. This frog prefers to live close to slow moving waterways.

Diet in Wild:
Insects, other invertebrates, and small amphibians.

Diet in Zoo: Crickets offered three times a week

Predators:
The main predators of these frogs are snakes, lizards, birds, and some mammals.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure:
Breeding takes place between November and May. The male frog externally fertilizes a clutch of about 2,000 eggs in a gelatinous mass floating in water, usually in a tree cavity. The egg mass may also be deposited in water found on the ground, although this is less common. Eggs will hatch within one day, and metamorphosis from a tadpole to juvenile adult takes about three weeks. Primarily nocturnal, this frog spends his days hiding from predators in the leafy canopy of the rainforest. They emerge at night to hunt nocturnal insects.

Life Span:
Amazon milk frogs can live up to 25 years depending on care and environment.

Interesting Facts:

  • Their latin name, Trachycephalus, refers to their long snouts which are used for pushing aside leaves and branches and allowing this nocturnal frog to tuck itself into tight hiding places during the day.

 Conservation Message:
Amazon milky frogs are not a significantly threatened species at this time, but current loss of habitat due to agriculture and logging could lead to future endangerment. In addition, frogs in Central and South America have been found to be infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (BD) chytrid fungus, causing chytridiomycosis. The fungus thickens keratinized areas of amphibians, such as the mouthparts of tadpoles and the keratin in the skin of adults, preventing the healthy transfer of oxygen and other gases across amphibians’ skin. While more species are affected by habitat loss than BD chytrid fungus, the disease causes sudden and dramatic population declines that can lead to rapid extinction.

What You Can Do:
Explain BD Chytrid fungus in frogs (although it doesn’t affect all species of tree frogs- it will most likely wipe out 1/3 of all frog species in the near future) and explain how washing any items you take in to waterways (i.e. boats, shoes) can prevent the spread of this fungus and help save amphibians everywhere.

Bibliography:
http://beardsleyzoo.org/
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
http://amphibianrescue.org/
http://www.auduboninstitute.org/
http://www.clemetzoo.com/
http://www.pdza.org/