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Leaf-Like Frogs Make an Appearance at Shedd Aquarium For National Frog Month

April 17, 2023

A bue poison dart frog sits among tigs and leaves in its habitat, small but brilliantly blue against its green and brown surroundings.

For National Frog Month, Shedd Aquarium is providing a closer look at one of the more elusive frogs guests can come eye-to-eye with while visiting the aquarium – the fringe leaf tree frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus) located in the Amazon Rising exhibit. This frog is native to the Amazonian lowlands in Brazil, Colombia and Peru and spends most of its life in the high canopies of the rainforest, only descending to lower branches for breeding.

National Frog Month is an annual month-long effort each April that helps elevate the critical role of these amphibians, many of whom face increasing risks in their native environments. Amphibians are cold-blooded, small vertebrates that need a moist environment to survive, including frogs, toads, salamanders and more. As amphibians, frogs are an indicator species; their highly permeable skin, through which amphibians breathe and absorb water, makes these animals susceptible to environmental impacts and can help researchers tell when significant environmental changes are happening. Frogs also play an essential role in the food chain by keeping insect populations at bay.

Shedd Aquarium is home to over a dozen different species of frogs that help to serve as reminders of the threats that amphibians - half of which were at risk of extinction as of 2019 - face in the wild. These risks include habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive species to non-native environments. As ambassadors for their species, it is important people come eye-to-eye with these animals to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for frogs and the aquatic world more broadly.

VISUALS: This video shows a fringed leaf tree frog at Shedd using his leaf-like appearance to blend into his environment and hide his bright yellow belly. This adaptation would help this frog to avoid predators in the wild. These frogs and the many other frog species at Shedd, including much more obvious, brightly colored poison dart frogs, can be visited in Shedd’s Amazon Rising gallery.

Video of the fringe leaf tree frog:

Video Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin

Photos of some of the other frog species at Shedd:

Photo Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium