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Species of the Week
Xenohyla truncata | Izecksohn's Brazilian Treefrog | Photo © Carlos Henrique de- Oliveira-Nogueira

De-Oliveira-Nogueira et al (2023) reports a new behavior and relationship between an amphibian and plant: the South American tree frog Xenohyla truncata has been observed feeding on nectar and flowers of the Brazilian milk fruit tree Cordia taguahyensis. The flower structure of this tree species allows the frog to enter and exit the flower easily. During their feeding activity, the pollen grains adhere to the frog’s back and are transported to other flowers while visiting them. Based on this observation, the authors suggest that X. truncata is not only a seed disperser, but also a potential pollinator of C. taguahyensis, or even of other plant species with similar floral structure. Nectar-feeding is an unique natural history behavior among frogs and highlights the importance of fundamental natural history information for this endemic tree frog species, which exclusively lives in the rapidly disappearing Restinga habitat on the coast of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. With expanding development and habitat destruction, it is feared that losing this frog species, currently threatened with extinction, also means the extinction of a unique amphibian-plant interaction, especially important as it is a first known for a frog. Thus, conservation of this tree frog species has heightened stakes.

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Total Amphibian Species by Order

221 Caecilians 805 Salamanders 7,622 Frogs