10 Frogs Handsome Enough to Kiss

While researching our post The 10 Weirdest and Most Unusual Frogs on Earth , we found so many beautiful frogs we decided to give them their own post. Below are 10 of the handsomest princes of the amphibian world.

1. Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychis callidryas)

This frog might be called The Planet’s Most Beautiful Frog. It has been a pin-up on dozens of wildlife calendars and cards. But its beauty has a purpose—to help it to survive. When at rest, the frog’s eyes are closed. But if disturbed, the sudden appearance of its bright red eyes may startle a predator for a second or two—enough time for the frog to leap away. With its large toe pads and long thin limbs, it can climb trees easily. The Red-Eyed Tree Frog lives in tropical forests from southern Mexico through much of Central America. We used this frog on a poster we created to help spread awareness of the global amphibian crisis (you can download the poster for free):

Red-eyed Tree Frog from IStockPhoto.com

2. Golden toad (Bufo periglenes)

The Golden Toad became extinct 30 years after its discovery in 1976. They were found only in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve of Costa Rica, where hundreds would breed in shallow forest pools. The Golden Toad has become a symbol of  the plight of frogs and toads worldwide—we don’t want other amphibians to suffer the same fate as this beautiful creature.

Golden toad, photo by Charles H. Smith, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

3. White’s tree frog (Litoria caerula)

These handsome frogs seem to have a perpetual smile on their faces. White’s tree frogs are often kept as pets, but they are happiest when left alone in their native home: the woodland and scrub close to water in northeast Australia and New Guinea.

courtesy of www.frognet.org

4. Strawberry poison dart frog (Dendrobates pumilio)

This frog has a bright red head and body speckled with black spots. Because of its blue legs, it is also called the Blue Jeans Frog. Like many brilliantly-colored animals, the frogs’ bright color serves as a warning—Don’t eat me or you’ll be sorry! It forages on the forest floor eating small ants and termites, from which it derives the chemicals needed to synthesize the poison. It lives in tropical rainforests of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

5. Ranitomeya amazonica

A recent report from the World Wildlife Fund highlighted the amazing discoveries of the past decade in the Amazonian biome. According to the report, between 1999 and 2009 more than 1,200 new species of plants and vertebrates were discovered in the Amazon – a rate of one new species every three days – confirming the Amazon as one of the most diverse places on Earth.  Ranitomeya amazonica, another beautiful poision dart frog , is one of the most extraordinary of these newly discovered species. Its main habitat is lowland moist forest near the Iquitos area in Peru.

photo copyright AFP/HO/File/Lars K

6. Malagasy Rainbow Frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei)

One of the most beautiful of the Madagascan frogs, the Malagasy Rainbow Frog  is adapted for a burrowing lifestyle. It is able to live under the ground for up to 10 months.  But it also has claws on its forefeet to help it cling to vertical canyon walls to escape floods or predators.  Unfortunately thousands of these frogs are captured every year for the pet trade.

image from Wikipedia, by Franco Andreone

7. Venezuelan Glass Frog (Cochranella helenae)

This lovely frog, native to the subtropical or tropical most lowland forests and rivers of Venezuela has translucent skin, to help hide it among the leaves.

Photo by Cesar Luis Barrio Amoros, courtesy of Amphibian Ark

8. Tiger frog (Hyloscritus tigrinis)

The Tiger Frog was discovered in 2007 in Southwestern Colombian. Little is known about the frog except that it is not believed to be toxic. Rather with its bright coloring, the frog seems to be mimicking other poisonous animals to deter predators. This gorgeous frog is threatened by destruction of the forests where it lives.

photo copyright Francisco Jose Lopez-Lopez, courtesy of www.arkive.org

9. Harlequin frogs (Atelopus varius)

Harlequin frogs are usually black or brown with spots or streaks that can be a combination of yellow, orange, red, blue, or green.  They live in the moist, tropical forests in Central and southwestern South America. About two-thirds of over 110 species of these brightly-colored frogs have vanished since the 1980s. Their decline is attributed to the destruction of their native forests, collection by the pet trade, and fungal infection (chytrid fungus).

image copyright Forrest Bren for the New York Times

10. Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

The Wood Frog’s beauty is more subtle that that of its tropical cousins, yet its colors seems to mimic the color of rocks, bark, and fallen leaves in the forests in which it lives.  This frog is America’s most northernmost species, ranging from northeast USA to the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Canada. Wood Frogs have already begun hibernating. First they find a place under the leaf litter or in a crack in a log or rock to settle for their winter nap. They’ll slowly begin to freeze as soon as temperatures reach the freezing point. Then the frog’s blood will stop flowing, its lungs, heart and muscles will stop functioning, and ice will fill the body cavity: they will go from frog to frogsicle, until they begin to thaw in the warm temperatures of spring.

Wood frog, photo by John Rounds

Some of the information from this post came from Frogs and Toads (a Golden Guide) by Dave Showler, illustrated by Barry Croucher/Wildlife Art Ltd.