Thursday, December 29, 2011

Frog Week: Pearly Tree Frog.

You know how every frog entry I make keeps bringing up the point about how frogs, of all animals, are the most prone to being endangered? This has to be among the most endangered frog species in much so that one of the few pieces of evidence that it exists is a children's trading card:
(I actually have this card, but the uploader was being screwy.)

Yes, that's a thing. It's called a Pearly Tree Frog, but most sources, even Wikipedia and reptile-keepers, use its scientific name Nyctixalus margaritifer (disclaimer: this frog will not bring you drinks). It is native only to the island of Java in Indonesia. Although there are more photos of this guy than I originally thought (searching "pearly tree frog" will get you almost nowhere), it is still a very rare, very beautiful frog.

Although only listed on the IUCN website as "Vulnerable," just going by the description on that site, this frog should be at least endangered. They cite their reasoning as "Listed as Vulnerable because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in Java." The only reason it isn't outright endangered is because so very little is known about it. Fewer than ten specimens are known. Why is that not enough to put something on the Endangered list?

Furthermore, for a LONG time, this frog was thought extinct. Records of its existence miraculously resurfaced in 1997. The reasons behind this re-emergence are even more obscure than the storm that brought crested geckos back into existence. (Note to nature- thanks for that one.) If it can vanish and reappear once, it can do so again. Reminder: This is a bling-bling frog we're talking about, not a camouflaged gecko.

And THIS is how you propose to a herpetologist. No exceptions.

Apparently, some people DO have Pearly Tree Frogs in captivity. Many of them are probably smuggled in under the name Nyctixalus pictus - a frog close enough to mistake for this rare beauty.  Judging from the responses to the posts, the frogs were wild caught, and the care tips given for them looked basic to N. pictus. With any luck, N. margaritifer will at least get a strong captive base like the Scimitar-Horned Oryx. Otherwise, we may have another vanishing act with no encore.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the continuing feeds re frogs. Never new there was so much of interest re frogs.