April 29, 2016
Tomato Frog: A Rare Variety
- as seen by -Megan Maher
While the Sambava tomato frog, Dyscophus guineti, might look like it belongs on a salad, it is not the kind of tomato to eat or even touch. In stressful situations, the brightly-colored frog puffs up and secretes a sticky, white substance containing irritants and toxins – a warning for predators, including humans, to stay away.
At six months old, this plump little amphibian is closer to the size of a cherry tomato than the big boy variety, but it is still growing. Taking its picture was not easy. I expected it to stay put and puff up to look “large”, a frog’s defensive posture, but instead, it bounced and hopped around just as I was ready to shoot.
Agricultural practices, charcoal production, and human activity pose threats to Madagascar’s unique biodiversity including this tomato frog. Much of the country’s wildlife exists nowhere else on Earth.
Amphibians are in crisis across the globe. Hundreds of species are in danger of extinction due to habitat degradation and disease. The Bronx Zoo participates in survival programs to help mitigate these conservation challenges.
EDITOR’S NOTE: April 30 is Save the Frogs Day. Help raise awareness to the plight of amphibians around the world through photos. Send us your finest shots of frogs in our Wild View For the Frogs Assignment.
See WCS video, 100 Frogs in 10 Seconds by Kelsey Kovner, photos by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.
Nikon D4, R1C1 Speedlight