Thursday, July 5
Hello, my name is Char, and I am a Keeper II with the Herpetology Department. Let me introduce you to an interesting little frog we have behind the scenes at Slimy Scaly Spectacular – the Mona Island coqui (Eleutherodactylus monensis). These little guys are native to Mona Island, Puerto Rico – as their name suggests. Unlike many frogs you may be familiar with, these guys are direct developers. This means that there is no larval stage or tadpole stage. Instead, they hatch from their eggs as tiny miniatures of the adults, and I do mean tiny – on average hatchlings are 8.6 millimeters long (that’s less than half an inch!). Frogs you may be familiar with at home, like tree frogs or bullfrogs, are what we call indirect developers. This means that they lay many, many small eggs (a bullfrog can lay up to 20,000 eggs) that hatch into a larval form – the tadpole, which then starts to grow rather rapidly so that it may go through metamorphosis to turn from tadpole to frog. Our Mona Coqui only lay around 10 to 18 eggs in one clutch, and because they don’t have a tadpole stage, they lay their eggs in a little nest they have made in moss. We are pretty lucky in the department because a coqui nest has just started to hatch, and their parents have already laid another one for us.
Although we don’t currently have our coqui out where guests can see them, we do have other frogs in Scaly Slimy Spectacular, so when you’re walking through, remember to keep an eye out for some eggs or tadpoles (hint: our red-eye tree frogs and black legged dart frogs are often parents).
Keeper II, Herpetology