Red-eyed tree frog. Photo by Rhett Butler.
In recognition of Amphibian Ark winning mongabay.com’s 2011 conservation award, our pictures of the day this week will focus on amphibians.
The red-eyed tree frog is among the most photogenic amphibians but it isn’t particularly endangered. The species ranges from southern Mexico to northern Colombia, but doesn’t live in the Amazon rainforest. The red-eyed tree frog is also commonly kept in captivity.
Red-eyed tree frogs are nocturnal. During the day they spend most of their time sleeping, usually compressed on the underside of a leaf. Their red-eyes serve as a survival mechanism — when they open their bulging, bright red eyes it can momentarily startle a predator, giving the frog an opportunity to escape.
Unlike many other amphibian species around the world, the red-eyed tree frog seems relatively unaffected by the deadly chytrid fungus which has driven scores of species of frogs and toads to extinction. Scientists are unsure why red-eyed tree frogs are immune, but it may have something to do with their arboreal life-style: red-eyed tree frogs rarely spend much time on the ground where chytrid dwells.