Black-eyed Tree Frog, Morelet's Treefrog
© 2007 Dr. Peter Janzen (1 of 28)
Dorsal surfaces range from dark to light green (Lee 1996). Flanks, inner surfaces of the appendages, and the webbing between the first three fingers and first four toes are orange (Lee 1996). Ventral surfaces are light yellow or white (Lee 1996). The iris is dark red to deep purple (McCranie and Wilson 2002). The palpebral membrane has gold reticulations (Duellman 1970).
Tadpoles have a robust body that is deeper than it is broad. The tail is about twice the length of the body and is acuminate. Tail musculature is well developed. The spiracle is ventrolateral and sinistral. The vent tube opens to the right of the caudal fin. Papillae border the mouth parts, except on the dorsal surface of the upper lip. There are two upper and three lower rows of denticles. Tadpoles are purplish brown in coloration (Lee 1996).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Females appear later in the season after heavy rains (Lee 1996). Breeding occurs in ponds (Lee 1996). Amplexus is axillary (Lee 1996). Briggs (2008) found that mating patterns varied; larger males had a mating advantage in the driest year of a three-year study of mating patterns, and size-assortative mating (by SVL) occurred in a different study year.
The eggs, which have a slight green tint, are deposited in discrete gelatinous clutches of about 50 to 75 on vegetation or rocks overhanging water (Lee 1996; Gomez-Mestre et al. 2008). Fertilization success is high, with Briggs (2008) reporting 100% fertilization in 45 of 46 experimental clutches, similar to her field observations. As is the case for A. callidryas and other species in the genus Agalychnis, embryos of A. moreletii exhibit adaptive plasticity in hatching timing (Gomez-Mestre et al. 2008). Normally, embryos begin hatching 9-12 days after eggs are deposited, with most embryos hatching at night and the hatching period lasting 2-3 days. However, embryos are competent to hatch earlier, when they reach Gosner stage 23 (where the operculum has covered the venter); this occurs about 7 days post-oviposition. Premature hatching occurs in response to either mechanical disturbance (such as occurs in snake predation of the clutch) or submergence.
Trends and Threats
All five Agalychnis species (A. annae, A. callidryas, A. moreletii, A. saltator, and A. spurrelli) have just received CITES protection, under Appendix II (as of March 21, 2010). Within the past decade the U.S. alone has imported 221,960 Agalychnis frogs, according to the Species Survival Network (SSN).
Relation to Humans
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
Intensified agriculture or grazing
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Briggs, V. S. (2010). ''Call trait variation of Morelett’s trefrog, Agalychnis moreletii of Belize.'' Herpetologica, 66(3), 241-249.
Canseco-Márquez, L., Gutiérrez-Mayén, G., and Salazar-Arenas, J. (2000). ''New records and range extensions for amphibians and reptiles from Puebla, Mexico.'' Herpetological Review, 31, 259-263.
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Felger, J., Enssle, J., Mendez, D., and Speare, R. (2007). ''Chytridiomycosis in El Salvador.'' Salamandra, 43, 122-127.
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Gomez-Mestre, I., Wiens, J. J., and Warkentin, K. M. (2008). ''Evolution of adaptive plasticity: risk-sensitive hatching in neotropical leaf-breeding treefrogs.'' Ecological Monographs, 78, 205-224.
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Lee, J. C. (1996). The Amphibians and Reptiles of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.
Lips, K. R., Mendelson, J. R. III, Munoz-Alonso, A., Canseco-Marquez, L. and Mulcahy, D.G. (2004). ''Amphibian population declines in montane southern Mexico: resurveys of historical localities.'' Biological Conservation, 119, 555-564.
Lynch, J. D., and Fugler, C. M. (1965). ''A survey of the frogs of Honduras.'' Journal of the Ohio Herpetological Society, 5, 5-18.
McCranie, J. R. (2007). ''Distribution of the amphibians of Honduras by departments.'' Herpetological Review, 38(1), 35-39.
McCranie, J. R., and Wilson, L. D. (2002). ''The Amphibians of Honduras.'' Contributions to Herpetology, Vol 19. K. Adler and T. D. Perry, eds., Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.
Santos-Barrera, G., Lee, J., Acevedo, M., Wilson, L.D. (2004). Agalychnis moreletii. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 02 November 2009.
Urbina-Cardona, J. N. and Loyola, R. D. (2008). ''Applying niche-based models to predict endangered-hylid potential distributions: are neotropical protected areas effective enough?'' Tropical Conservation Science, 1, 417-445.
Written by Sandya Iyer (sandya.iyer AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2009-11-02
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2011-09-27)
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