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Animal Fact Sheets

Solomon Island Leaf Frog

(Ceratobatrachus guentheri)

 

 

Snapshot:

Scientific Name: Ceratobatrachus guentheri
Size: length: 3-4 inches (.07-.1m)
Type: Amphibian
Diet: Insects and other invertebrates
Lifespan: Approximately 5 years
Group Name: Army, Knot
Protection Status: Least Concern
Where to find at Woodland Park Zoo: Day Exhibit. Look on the ground of the exhibit in dark corners or for them peeking out from under a leaf or other object.

Geographic Range

The Solomon Island Leaf Frog is a species found on the Solomon Islands and Bougainville and Buka Island, Papua New Guinea. They have been recorded at elevations 700m above sea level.

Habitat

This terrestrial frog resides on the forest floor in the tropical rainforest. They also appear in secondary forests (a secondary forest is a forest that has been logged and has recovered naturally or artificially), rural gardens and other degraded areas.

Physical Characteristics

They average about 3–4 inches in length, with males being smaller and thinner than the females. Their cryptic coloration and dorsal patterns aid in their camouflage – often mimicking decaying leaf matter – giving rise to the common name of "leaf frog". Because their upper eyelids are pointy, giving the frogs the appearance of having eyelashes, and because of their unusual body shape, they’re also known as the Solomon Island Eyelash Frog and the Triangle Frog.

Life Span

This species can live for approximately five years.

Diet

In the wild: Insects, arthropods, and smaller amphibians.

At the zoo: Crickets and as babies they are fed springtails, bean beetles, and fruit flies.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Most frogs (and amphibians in general) are born as tadpoles, and as they age, they shift from their young aquatic form to their adult land dwelling one. Solomon Island Leaf Frogs have no tadpole phase outside of the egg. Inside the egg they undergo direct development, which means they do not have a free-living aquatic phase and skip living as an aquatic tadpole. This is good, because the little tadpole/froglet inside the egg isn’t exposed to as many predators as free living tadpoles are. It also means that they are less dependent on water for development, which opens up many more sites for the females to lay their eggs. When they hatch as tiny froglets, they simply grow larger over time. Each female lays an average clutch size of 53 eggs and incubation lasts anywhere between 31-33 days.

Predators

Frogs are a key food source for animals that live within its tropical rainforest ecosystem. Frogs are common prey for a variety of birds, snakes, mammals and fish. In many parts of the world, people eat them too. To avoid predation, the Solomon Island Leaf Frog has adapted a very unique camouflage pattern that helps it blend in with the forest floor.

Ecosystem Roles

Solomon Island Leaf Frogs serve as a key component to the food chain in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. A frog this small may seem unimportant and minuscule in such a large habitat, but they are a key resource to larger predators that feed on them. Thus, the disappearance of this frog disturbs an intricate food web.

Further, these frogs are a great indicator species because their permeable skin can easily absorb toxic chemicals. This trait makes frogs susceptible to environmental disturbances and can indicate environmental stress.

The frogs also serve as a benefit to the ecosystem by helping keep the insect population in check! Adult frogs eat large quantities of insects that may potentially carry fatal illnesses that can be passed to humans (malaria/mosquitos). Thank you Leaf Frogs!

Conservation Connection

In 1991, Woodland Park Zoo won the Edward H. Bean Award recognizing a truly significant captive propagation effort for the Solomon Island Leaf Frog. Currently Woodland Park Zoo supports Amphibian ARK, an organization that is ensuring the survival and diversity of amphibian species focusing on those that cannot currently be safe-guarded in their natural environments. Outside of the zoo, the Solomon Islands Government is currently formulating legislation to control the export of this species

How You Can Help!

Although this species is not endangered, there are still ways to help other frogs that are!

  • Educate Yourself! Learn more about frogs here at the zoo or at a local herpetological club! The internet and books are great resources that can teach you more about each species! Keep informed about legislation that affects your local frog populations. By becoming informed and taking action, you can help frogs face threats like habitat destruction, global climate change and disease.
  • Protect the Environment- There are many things people of all ages can help the environment and the Solomon Island Leaf Frogs! Reduce what you throw away through recycling efforts, don’t introduce non-native plants/animals to our environment, reduce toxic chemical use, don’t flush medicines down the toilet and reduce water use to name a few.
  • Support Conservation- Participate in a citizen science project, such as the one at Woodland Park Zoo. Many environmental organizations, zoos and aquariums, scientific consortiums, and countless community groups are already tackling the global frog extinction crisis. But there’s still a lot to do. Donate or raise money for your favorite amphibian-themed cause.

Location at the Zoo

The Solomon Island Leaf Frog can be located in the Day Exhibit

 

Climate Change vs. Frogs

Temperatures in many habitats, such as naturally cooler montane areas where amphibians thrive, are warming. As this warming occurs, it is creating habitats no longer suitable for many amphibian species leading to amphibian population declines and extinctions. A warmer climate also might provide an optimum spot for the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis to grow in some areas of the wold that probably weren’t suitable for it before. This fungus is currently thought to be responsible for the extinction of many species of amphibians around the globe.

Solomon Island Leaf Frog Fascinating Facts

  • They are an interesting example of a species that undergoes direct development – skipping a free-living tadpole stage and emerging from the egg as a fully developed froglet.
  • Both males and females will call, however their 2 distinct calls resemble the barks of a small dog or a short squeak.