Rabbs' Fringe-limbed Treefrog
Species Description: Mendelson III JR, Savage JM, Griffith E, Ross H, Kubicki B, Gagliardo R. 2008. Spectacular new gliding species of Ecnomiohyla (Anura: Hylildae) from Central Panama. J. Herpetol. 42:750-759
© 2009 Brad Wilson (1 of 2)
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Ecnomiohyla rabborum is a canopy dweller. This species has extensive webbing and can glide through the air when it leaps from a tree.
Males call throughout the year, with maximum reproductive activity occurring at the onset of the rainy season (lasting from mid-March to May). Calls consist of a "grrrck repeated at regular intervals, and may be preceded by a single "warm-up" call of 3-5 notes. Eggs are deposited in tree holes containing water, and are attached to the exposed wood just above the water line. Usually calls are made from a branch or vine near the treehole, and sometimes from the mouth of the treehole. Males appear to use the same treehole for breeding with several different females throughout the year. Clutch size is 60 - 200 eggs.
Males apparently are territorial, defending the treeholes in which the eggs are deposited and the tadpoles develop. Females disperse after oviposition, leaving the males to attend to the developing tadpoles. Males apparently feed the tadpoles by spending the day with their body half submerged in the water. During this time, the tadpoles may be seen constantly swimming around the submerged regions of the male’s body and eating small flecks of what appears to be skin coming off of his body. Adults are known to leap from high branches and glide, using outstretched limbs and full webbing on the hands and feet, to the ground. At the time of its discovery, this was not a common species in the forest.
Trends and Threats
Although individuals were captured in 2006 (along with other species) and were sent to EVACC, Zoo Atlanta, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, attempts at captive breeding were unsuccessful. The last known female died in captivity in 2009. The last known male, known as “Toughie,” passed away at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on 26 September 2016. Prior to Toughie's death, the species had not been seen in the wild for nine years and is now likely extinct (Platt 2016, Mendelson 2016).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
The species name honors George and Mary Rabb, for their lifelong support of amphibian conservation.
Cruz, C.A.G., Caramaschi, U. (2003). ''Taxonomic status of Melanophryniscus stelzneri dorsalis (MERTENS, 1933) and Melanophryniscus stelzneri fulvoguttatus (MERTENS, 1937) (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae).'' Boletim do Museu Nacional, N.S., Zool., Rio de Janeiro, 500, 1-11. [link]
Mendelson, J. R. III (2011). ''Shifted baselines, forensic taxonomy, and Rabbs’ Fringe-limbed Treefrog: the changing role of biologists in an era of amphibian declines and extinctions.'' Herpetological Review, 42, 21-25.
Mendelson, J. R. and Angulo, A. 2009. Ecnomiohyla rabborum. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 18 April 2011.
Mendelson, J. R., III, Savage, J. M., Griffith, E., Ross, H., Kubicki, B., and Gagliardo, R. (2008). ''A spectacular new gliding species of Ecnomiohyla (Anura: Hylidae) from Central Panama.'' Journal of Herpetology, 42, 750-759.
Platt, J.R. (2016). ''The Rabbs' Tree Frog Just Went Extinct.'' https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/rabbs-tree-frog-extinct/ Scientific American. Downloaded on 26 November 2018 [link]
Written by Joseph Mendelson (jmendelson AT zooatlanta.org), Curator of Herpetology at Zoo Atlanta
First submitted 2009-01-06
Edited by Kellie Whittaker; updated Ann T. Chang (2018-11-26)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Ecnomiohyla rabborum: Rabbs' Fringe-limbed Treefrog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/7233> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 23, 2019.
Feedback or comments about this page.
Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2019. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Feb 2019.
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.