Friday, September 18, 2009

Anuran Spotlight: MEULLER'S TERMITE FROG (Dermatonotus meulleri)

Meuller's Termite Frog is found in a variety of habitats where water is readily available for at least part of the year in areas of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

Like most of the other species in the family Microhylidae (the Narrowmouths), Termite frogs have small mouths on pointy snouts that serve them well in their diet of Termites and Ants.

Another distinctive characteristic of this family is the nuchal fold (neck fold) behind the head. For other members of this family, see Tomato Frogs and Malayan Painted Toads in earlier frog posts.

This is a common frog throughout its range, but is usually seen during rains when they come out in great numbers to breed in temporary and permanent bodies of water.

A frog in the hand beats 2 in the... never mind. This shows us the relative size of a large female. (Do we remember that usually female frogs are larger than males?)

This is a fossorial (burrowing) species, that would rather stay in an listen to some jazz and drink Chiraz than go out and carry on at the club with you.

"I'm not being judgmental. I just don't like Lady Gaga, that's all... what look on my face?"

An under view of the Meuller's. It's okay, they ain't shy.

A close up view of the hind foot of the Termite Frog shows the strong toes for digging. The extended digit of many Microhylids often wiggle when they hunt; possibly to distract or attract their insect prey.

As with many frogs and toads that spend the majority of time buried, Meuller's is an explosive breeder. This means that the entire population in a given area will breed en masse all at the same time, flooding the area with their offspring. This strategy for breeding ensures some safety in numbers for the tadpoles and toadlets.

One of my favorite frogs (the species not this individual) hides among the leaves of a forest floor with an unknown species of the family Ranidae (the True Frogs) after a rain.

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