Sierra Nevada Harlequin Frog, Santa Marta Harlequin Toad
© 2009 Victor Fabio Luna-Mora (1 of 9)
Distribution and Habitat
Most frogs and toads (anurans) synchronize the exact time they deposit their gametes through 'amplexus', where typically a male grasps the female tightly from behind until she deposits her eggs. In the Happy Toad or Santa Marta Harlequin Toad (Atelopus laetissimus) of Colombia, Rueda-Solano et al (2022) studied how the amplexus in this species has evolved to last for months! Males that amplex a female before other males have a high chance of breeding, so it is advantageous to be the first male in finding a female. Although she may not be ready to reproduce, the male must wait until the female decides to do so. They reported the female toad will carry the smaller male around for up to four months. Males scramble for females where larger males have the advantage, and once in amplexus, the male holds on with a force 80 times his own weight, and those with larger forelimbs are harder to dislodge. While the male waits, he must defend his position on the female's back, other males will try to displace him. Their experiments showed the female helps defend her mate from interlopers. During amplexus, the male cannot feed and loses up to 30% of his initial weight, which he can gain back in just one week post-breeding. (Written by Andrew Crawford and Luis Alberto Rueda-Solano)
Edited by: Michelle S. Koo (2022-01-30)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Atelopus laetissimus: Sierra Nevada Harlequin Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/56> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Aug 13, 2022.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2022. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 13 Aug 2022.
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