Sachatamia ilex is a medium-sized frog, reaching up to 37 mm in length (Guyer and Donnelly 2005). It is commonly known as either the Ghost Glass Frog or the Limon Giant Glass Frog. Centrolene ilex can be up to twice the size of related species, making it the largest species of glass frog in Central America
(Leenders 2001). The eyes are silver with black reticulations, and are positioned on top of the large semicircular head so that the eyes point directly forward
(Leenders 2001). The pupils are horizontally elliptical
(Leenders 2001). This frog also has prominent, protuberant nostrils located on a slightly elevated ridge on its head
(Leenders 2001). The tympanum is round and indistinct
(Savage 2002). Vomerine teeth are present in transverse rows between the choanae and are medially separated
(Savage 2002). The toes are extensively webbed, in contrast to the fingers, where more extensive webbing is present only between the outer fingers (III-V).
(Savage 2002). Finger and toe discs are present and truncate
(Savage 2002). Males have a white nuptial pad on the dorsal and outer lateral surfaces at the base of the thumb
(Savage 2002), and a humeral spine embedded within the arm musculature (i.e. non-protruding) and running approximately parallel to the humerus (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).
Centrolene ilex has a deep leaf green body, with a light green or white throat and belly, and a distinct white lip stripe
(Leenders 2001; Savage 2002). Occasionally, scattered white dots are present on the dorsum
(Leenders 2001). This frog also has yellowish hands and feet
(Leenders 2001). The bones are dark green, a characteristic shared with other centrolenid frogs and one genus of hylid frogs, Trachycephalus (treated under the name Phrynohyas in Savage 2002). Sachatamia ilex has a white, parietal peritoneal sheath covering its internal organs
(Leenders 2001). The digestive tract itself is unpigmented
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama
Sachatamia ilex occurs in Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. It is found mainly in the foothills of the Central and Talamanca Mountain ranges, as well as in a few locations on the northern Pacific slopes, at elevations up to 1420 m above sea level (Stuart et al. 2008). Within Ecuador it has been reported from the northern Pacific lowlands in the provinces of Esmeraldas and Pichincha, at 180-800 m in elevation (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007).
It inhabits primary and secondary wet forests, and is found on large low-lying leaves, often in the spray zone of waterfalls or streams
(Stuart et al. 2008; Leenders 2001).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The Ghost Glass Frog is nocturnal and arboreal, and is not common (Leenders, 2001). During the daytime it sleeps on the top surface of exposed leaves
(Leenders 2001). It is able to vary the intensity of its green coloration to match the substrate on which it is resting
(Leenders 2001). Males call from the upper side of leaves, usually with the head facing the tip of the leaf (Cisneros-Heredia and McDiarmid 2007). The call consists of a single high-pitched "click", repeated after intervals of several minutes
(Savage 2002). Females deposit black eggs on upper leaf surfaces overhanging a stream
Trends and Threats
This species requires vegetative cover over streams and is thus vulnerable to habitat loss by deforestation. It occurs within protected areas in Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia (Stuart et al. 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
Cisneros-Heredia, D. F., and McDiarmid, R. W. (2007). ''Revision of the characters of Centrolenidae (Amphibia: Anura: Athesphatanura), with comments on its taxonomy and the description of new taxa of glassfrogs.'' Zootaxa, 1572, 1-82.
Guyer, C., and Donnelly, M. A. (2005). Amphibians and Reptiles of La Selva, Costa Rica and the Caribbean Slope: A Comprehensive Guide. University of California Press, Berkeley.
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2006. Global Amphibian Assessment. www.globalamphibians.org. Accessed on 21 July 2007.
Leenders, T. (2001). A Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami.
Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
Written by Rupi Mudan (gmudan AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2005-11-01
Edited by Keith Lui (2009-11-02)
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