Costa Rica and Panama Frog Photo's (Dialup beware!)
Well my lazy arse finally has gotten around to cutting some stills out of my video. I am dying to post the video but the Sony cam I have uses a new file format and seems it pretty much isn't supported by any of the current players. So guess I will just have to wait for that.
Anyhow...these are cut from video so not as good as some of the great film we see around here....but enjoy!
Here is a map of the archipelego with locations of the shots labeled as exact as possible based on the geography of the coastline.
First stop was Cayo Agua. The frogs were concentrated in a small patch of forest up on an eroded beach cliff. There were also what I believe to be lugubris on the island...but I don't have those photo's now. The locals spoke of green frogs with yellow bellies and blue legs. I really saw more bluish legs on Isla Popa but Cayo Agua definitely had more yellow on the bellies.
Can you find all three in this shot?
Next stop was Isla Popa. We travelled through a narrow long mangrove swamp to get to actual land. Then needed to hike quite a distance up and inland to get to the frogs. I was expected a sharp contrast to Cayo Agua but they were very similar. As I had mentioned above I saw a bit more blue in the legs and less yellow on the bellies here. These two populations though clearly not joined are remarkably similar in appearance.
We had a guide take us over to the Cauchero region of the mainland. He got lost and we had to stop for directions. The couple living where we stopped were from California and had "dropped out" to Panama. They said some indians had shown up three weeks prior with this kitten and they bought it off of them for $20...worried what might be done with it otherwise. The video with sound is awesome! This is a very young Margay who really, really wanted on our boat.
We finally arrived in Cauchero....
Here is a nice looking auratus in Cauchero as well.
The next day we made our way over to Tierra Oscura or the Darklands penninsula. While I didn't have the equipment to weigh or take measurements of these guys...I can tell you the interpopulation variation made it impossible for me to discern these from the Cauchero pums.
Next up was Isla Cristobal...NOT shy frogs!
This one was into my girl. Back off buddy!
Last stop in Bocas was Nancy Cay or Isla Solarte. We had to hike extremely deep into a valley and steam bed to find these guys but boy are they gorgeous.
In Costa Rica we saw "green jeans" (first I had heard of them) in a Ranarium in Monteverde and also what I dubbed "black jeans" at the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center run by Brian Kubicki. (http://www.cramphibian.com)
We had a great time with Brian who's passion is glass frogs. He gave us a tour of his "lab" which contained some rare species I thought you may enjoy a look at.
Hylomantis lemur (used to be Phyllomedusa)
Reticulated Glass Frog and others (I am getting tired!) 8)
Spotted Glass Frog
The highlight for me... Hyalinobatrachium talamancae
a species Brian told us had not been recorded in Costa Rica for years until he documented them on the reserve...just hanging around guarding some eggs. This male was at the very bottom of what seemed like a 45 minute ride down the roughest mountain road we traveled in country! Arriving at the bottom there was a big river flowing along the road. We thought we weren't going to be able to find this species as there was no calling and boom...there he is 10 feet from where we stopped the car in a branch hanging at eye level! Brian has ears for calls and can pick out a frog in the deafening sounds of the forest....its amazing. I wish I could post the video as you could see the larva moving within the eggs.
Hope you enjoyed! I am going to throw in a comic relief shot to end.
I almost lost my girlfriend to a tree.... :shock:
I only looked until I found enough animals to film...trying to get a calling male of each.
Much of the habitat is broken up by development of one form or another. This seems to be the largest problem. Once you find a protected habitat that suits their needs...you have to be careful not to step on them. Cayo Agua, Cauchero, Darklands and Cristobal in particular where just everywhere you looked.
One example however is Cayo Agua. The area I was in had you literally hopping to avoid stepping on pums but that area was relatively small. As I mentioned the locals told me of a green, yellow and blue frog. I saw nothing like that where I filmed however the population I was filming was on the northern tip of the island, consisted of maybe 3-4 acres of forest from the beaches up to where land had been cleared for development and was completely separated from any other populations by at least as far as the eye could see. Now from the water I could see other forested area's that would likely have pums in it but again you are likely talking about isolated "sub-populations" within the island itself.
The Costa Rica portion was actually fairly cheap....you can easily get around there by bus for under $10 (at most) and hostels run as low as $10 a night. We also stayed at the preserve for 3 nights which ran us (I think) around $50/night.
Panama would be about the same however we went out a bit and chartered a catamaran with a captain cooking all the meals, making drinks and basically pampering us the entire time. That wasn't cheap. Those five days cost more than the rest of the 14 day trip combined. Well worth it though as it was all inclusive and we had full flexibility of what we did and when and where we did it. I am positive you can get local boatmen to take you to the islands for day trips for MUCH less. I think we paid $10 bucks round trip from Bocastown (Isla Colon) to Solarte which we did on our own the last day in Panama.
So with all this renewed knowledge...What do you think are some of the biggest differences between the habitats we typically provide in our vivaria and the real thing? In other words... what can we do better?
Much of this has been said in the thread "experiences keeping d. pumilio" but a few things I saw...
1. LEAF LITTER. Everywhere...tons of it...usually you couldn't see any earth at all.
2. They tended to like the shady areas around large buttress types of root structures of large trees and large bromiliad clusters. When I say large, I mean 2 foot in any given direction including vertically.
3. Light rain maybe once a day. There weren't waterfalls or even streams near most of the island and sub-montane habitats I visited. The only place they were anywhere near water was on forest adjacent to the ocean and on Isla Solarte where I found them near a very small stream bed. On the whole however I will be keeping mine in a much dryer environment than I have previously.
Thats all off of the top of my head. It should be noted though that the environments of these different populations are often very different in terms of plants, moisture and elevation. I don't know that one morph wouldn't do well in anothers habitat but they are definite differences in the wild.