Gastrotheca is a genus of frogs (family Hemiphractidae) found in Central and South America. Most species occur in the American Cordillera from southern Costa Rica to northwestern Argentina. This genus makes up the bulk of marsupial frog diversity; formerly it was placed in the "Leptodactylidae" assemblage.
Marsupial frogs are so-called because they possess a dorsal brood pouch. In some species the eggs are fertilized on the female's lower back, and are inserted in her pouch with the aid of the male's toes. The eggs remain in contact with the female's vascular tissue, which provides them oxygen. In other species the eggs are laid in damp leaf litter and the male guards them. When they begin to hatch it is not wet enough for the tadpoles to survive so as many as possible (not generally all) are taken by the father into two pouches on his underside. They remain "inside" his pouch for several weeks until he "gives birth" to live frogs.
Gastrotheca guentheri (Guenther's Marsupial Frog) is the only known frog with true teeth in its lower jaw. Gastrotheca riobambae (Andean Marsupial Tree Frog) is kept as pet and is used in in scientific experiments.
- Faivovich, J., Haddad, C.F.B., Garcia, P.C.O., Frost, D.R., Campbell, J.A. & Wheeler, W.C. (2005): Systematic review of the frog family Hylidae, with special reference to Hylinae: Phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 294: 1-240.