Sani Lodge Pt.5 – The Amphibians!

Posted on January 29, 2011 by Tim 4 Comments

Dendrobatids are certainly spectacular looking frogs but they are not easy subjects in that when you can get photos of them they usually just sit there – boring. A. hahneli were also fairly common but again I couldn’t catch any this trip. What I really hoped for, but had given up seeing was Ranitomeya. The 2 species here are R. ventrimaculata and R. duellmani. I’ve seen R. ventrimaculata in Peru but no one here seemed to have seen any or know anything about them. R. duellmani is a sister species to R. reticulata (which I have seen). My last trip here I spent a lot of time looking for this frog and had given up that it was found here. Many dendrobatids have extremely patchy distributions. They are either there or not. And I figured they were not within any trails I had been hiking. That is until I saw a teeny little R. ventrimaculata bolting on the trail at my feet. I was pretty excited to have caught it. However, it was pretty skinny so when he wouldn’t perk up for photos I let him go after a couple representative frames.

A surprise find, the dart-poison frog Ranitomeya ventrimaculata. This skinny animal was released after a couple frames.

Another surprise came on one of my last nights when I was at the end of a long night hiking. I had been skunked on good stuff so near the end I was on a quick pace when I saw a little pair of eyes staring up at me from dead center of the trail. It is not common to find Phyllomedusines (at least this species) on the ground so I took the opportunity to try some things with Phyllomedusa vaillanti. These frogs can make maddening or fantastic subjects. This one, thankfully, cooperated enough for me to try a few different lighting schemes and some action shots.

The leaf frog, Phyllomedusa vaillanti, looking just as surprised as I was at seeing him sitting on the ground one night.

A rare action shot of a frog.

My new species were each represented by a single animal. Shortly after I had caught what I thought was my Bothriopsis (still dejected over that misidentification), I saw this largish bright lime-green frog sitting on a leaf at the edge of a trail. The fine yellow spots make Hypsiboas cinerascens unmistakable. And it yielded some decent photos.

A bright lime-green Hypsiboas cinerascens.

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  • Brian Roach says:

    Another great post, Tim! Thanks for sharing your experiences and your awesome photos!

  • Oh, great picture! That’s a cool little frog. I’ve always wanted to go to South America and look for dart frogs. Just to see them in their natural environment!

  • Great looking trip. I want to field herp in south America sometime. Wish I had somebody who loved them as much as me to go with!

    • Tim says:

      The dart frog community is pretty close-knit. Dive in and you’ll find someone to take a trip with you. I’ve been fortunate to see lots of dendrobatid species in the wild (from several countries); many of them exceedingly rare. You do have to put in the work to pull it off but the rewards are worth it. I’ll have to write a dendrobatid hunting article some day.

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