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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Males are approximately 30 mm long and females are slightly larger. The skin of the túngara frog is brown and pustular, giving it a toadlike appearance that is reflected in its scientific name (Ryan 1985). No teeth are present on the maxilla and premaxilla; tubercles are present on the dorsum in a variable pattern that may include large tubercles in longitudinal rows, chevrons, or both large and small tubercles randomly scattered (Cannatella and Duellman 1984). It also has a tuberculate tympanic membrane and the first finger is longer than the second.

Can frogs with foam nests help make biofuels? The long-lasting foam nests of the Túngara frog (Engystomops pustulosus) help protect its tadpoles. Now a team of researchers has designed a novel artificial photosynthesis system suspended in a foam, using the Túngara frog surfactant protein Ranaspumin-2. The system could produce up to 10-fold more biofuel per hectare than plants and could be used on rooftops and nonarable land (Wendell et al. 2010).


Video by the Royal Society.

A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).

  • Cannatella, D.C. and Duellman, W.E. (1984). ''Leptodactylid frogs of the Physalaemus pustulosus group.'' Copeia, 1984(4), 902-921.
  • Marsh, D.M., Fegraus, E.H., and Harrison, S. (1999). ''Effects of breeding pond isolation on the spatial and temporal dynamics of pond use by the Tungara Frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 804-814.
  • Ryan, M.J., Rand, A.S., and Weigt, L.A. (1996). ''Allozyme and advertisement call variation in the Tungara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Evolution, 50(6), 2435-2453.
  • Wendell, D., Todd, J., and Montemagno, C. (2010). ''Artificial photosynthesis in ranaspumin-2 based foam.'' Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl100550k.
  • Ryan, M.J. (1985). The Túngara Frog: A Study in Sexual Selection and Communication. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Santos-Barrera, G., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wilson, L. D., Savage, J., Bolaños, F., Lee, J., Chaves, G., Señaris, C., Acosta-Galvis, A., and Hardy, J. 2008. Engystomops pustulosus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 29 March 2010.
  • Tárano, Z. (1998). ''Cover and ambient light influence nesting preferences in the Túngara Frog Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Copeia, 1998(1), 250-251.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in Central America on the Atlantic versant of Mexico from southern Veracruz southwards to eastern Panama. There is also one record from central Querétaro, Mexico. In South America this species is found from northern Colombia south to the Magdalena Valley of Colombia and the Orinoco River in Venezuela. It is widespread in Trinidad and Tobago, and is likely to occur in Guyana, but there no records. It is a mostly lowland species occurring up to 1,540m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela, generally in lowland areas (up to 1,540 m asl) (Santos-Barrera et al. 2008). Found in savannahs as well as both natural and disturbed humid lowland and montane forest, tropical dry forest, and open environments such as pastures. Can tolerate secondary growth and forest edges. Often found near ponds, both natural and man-made. It also makes use of smaller bodies of water such as ditches, puddles, and potholes.

  • Cannatella, D.C. and Duellman, W.E. (1984). ''Leptodactylid frogs of the Physalaemus pustulosus group.'' Copeia, 1984(4), 902-921.
  • Marsh, D.M., Fegraus, E.H., and Harrison, S. (1999). ''Effects of breeding pond isolation on the spatial and temporal dynamics of pond use by the Tungara Frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 804-814.
  • Ryan, M.J., Rand, A.S., and Weigt, L.A. (1996). ''Allozyme and advertisement call variation in the Tungara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Evolution, 50(6), 2435-2453.
  • Wendell, D., Todd, J., and Montemagno, C. (2010). ''Artificial photosynthesis in ranaspumin-2 based foam.'' Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl100550k.
  • Ryan, M.J. (1985). The Túngara Frog: A Study in Sexual Selection and Communication. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Santos-Barrera, G., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wilson, L. D., Savage, J., Bolaños, F., Lee, J., Chaves, G., Señaris, C., Acosta-Galvis, A., and Hardy, J. 2008. Engystomops pustulosus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 29 March 2010.
  • Tárano, Z. (1998). ''Cover and ambient light influence nesting preferences in the Túngara Frog Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Copeia, 1998(1), 250-251.
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Countries

Countries

Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Identification

Adult

Species description based on Ibanez et al (1999) and Savage (2002).  Small, toady frog with a squat body and short limbs. Males to 33 mm; females to 36 mm.

Dorsal

The grayish-brown dorsal surface is covered with wartlike bumps. Darker mottling often present.

Eye

Iris tan or light brown. Pupil horizontal.

Extremities

Hands not webbed. Feet with some basal webbing.

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Ecology

Habitat

Belizean Pine Forests Habitat

This species is found in the Belizean pine forests along the Central America's northwestern Caribbean Sea coast; the ecoregion exhibits relatively well preserved fragments of vegetation as well as a considerable abundance of fauna. This ecoregion comprises a geographically small portion of the total land area of the ecoregions of Belize. There is relatively low endemism in the Belizean pine forests, and only a moderate species richness here; for example, only 447 vertebrate taxa have been recorded in the ecoregion. The ecoregion represents one of the few examples of lowland and premontane pine forests in the Neotropics, where the dominant tree species is Honduran Pine (Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis), which requires periodic low intensity burns for its regeneration. The vegetation is adapted to the xeric, acidic and nutrient-poor conditions that occur primarily in the dry season.

In the forest of the Maya Mountains, vegetation reaches higher altitudes, the topography is more rugged and crossed by various rivers, and nighttime temperatures are lower. The pine trees are larger and numerous, and the pine forest intersects other formations of interest such as rainforest, Cohune Palm (corozal), cactus associations, and others. About eleven percent of Belize is covered by natural pine vegetation. Only two percent represents totally closed forests; three percent semi-closed forests; and the remaining six percent pine savannas, that occupy coastal areas and contain isolated pine trees or stands of pine trees separated by extensive pastures. In addition to human activity, edaphic factors are a determining matter in this distribution, since the forests on the northern plain and southern coastal zone are on sandy soils or sandy-clay soils and usually have less drainage than the more fertile soils in the center of the country.

At elevations of 650 to 700 metres, the forests transition to premontane in terms of vegetation. At these higher levels, representative tree species are Egg-cone Pine (Pinus oocarpa), which crosses with Honduras Pine (P. hondurensis), where distributions overlap, although belonging to subsections of different genera; British Honduras Yellowwood (Podocarpus guatemalensis)  and Quercus spp.; moreover, and in even more moist areas there is a predominance of Jelecote Pine (Pinus patula), together with the palm Euterpe precatoria var. longivaginata and the arboreal ferns Cyathea myosuroides and Hemitelia multiflora.

A number of reptilian species are found in the Belizean pine forests, including: Guatemala Neckband Snake (Scaphiodontophis annulatus); Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais); On the coasts, interior lakes and rivers of Belize and by extension in this ecoregion there are two species of threatened crocodiles: American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and Morelet's Crocodile (C. moreletii), while observation of the Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii CR) is not uncommon in this ecoregion.

Also to be noted is the use of this habitat by the Mexican Black Howler (Alouatta pigra), which can be considered the most endangered howler monkey of the genus, and the Central American spider monkey (Atteles geoffroyi). Both species experienced a decline due to the epidemic yellow fever that swept the country in the 1950s. The five feline species that exist in Belize: Jaguar (Panthera onca), Puma (F. concolor), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Margay (Leopardus wiedii) and Jaguarundí (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) are in appendix I of CITES, as well as the Central American tapir (Tapirus bairdii) can been seen with relative frequency. Belize has the highest density of felines in Central America. The tapir is abundant around rivers. The White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) is also present in the ecoregion.

Although most of the amphibians and reptiles are found in humid premontane and lowland forests, the only endemic frog in this ecoregion, Maya Mountains Frog (Lithobates juliani), is restricted to the Mountain Pine Ridge in the Maya Mountains. Salamanders in the ecoregion are represented by the Alta Verapaz Salamander (Bolitoglossa dofleini NT), whose males are arboreal, while females live under logs. Anuran taxa found in the ecoregion include: Rio Grande Frog (Lithobates berlandieri); Sabinal Frog (Leptodactylus melanonotus); Northern Sheep Frog (Hypopachus variolosus); Stauffer's Long-nosed Treefrog (Scinax staufferi); and Tungara Treefrog (Engystomops pustulosus).

Present in the ecoregion are a number of avian species, including the endangered Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix EN), although this bird is adversely affected by ongoing habitat destruction.  Of particular interest is the presence in this ecoregion of Central America's highest procreative colony of Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria), a large migratory bird, particularly in the Crooked Tree sanctuary, on the country's northern plains.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is a species of lowland savannahs and open environments, as well as natural and disturbed humid lowland and montane forest, tropical dry forest, and other anthropogenic habitats, commonly in, around and in almost any natural or human-made temporary ponds, puddles, potholes, hoof prints, ditches, pastures, secondary growth and along forest edges or small permanent ponds or water catchments. The males call at night while floating on water. It breeds in temporary and permanent pools. Females of this species prefer nesting communally when pairs happen to be found in the same area (Zina, 2006).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Habitat

Tungaras are one of the commonest frogs encountered in the lowlands of Panama (up to 1500 m). Tungaras are primarily an inhabitant of leaf litter, but can be found all kinds of habitats, from forest to more disturbed areas, and in both wet and dry forest.

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General Ecology

Ecology

Ecology

Tungaras are active at night (Park et al 1940) but also during the day, when they feed (Jaeger and Hailman 1981). Adult tungara frogs are eaten by bats (Trachops cirrosus), other species of frogs (Rhinella marina, Leptodactylus savagei), opposums (Philander opossum), snapping turtles (Pseudemis scripta), snakes (Leptodeira annulata) and crabs (Potamocarcinus richmondi)(Tarano 1998).   The complex calls (whine plus one or more chucks) produced by tungara frogs increase chances of detection by predators and parasites, including bats (Tuttle et al 1981), opposums (Tuttle et al 1982), and blood-sucking flies (Bernal et al 2007). Bernal et al (2007) demonstrated that eavesdroppers such as blood-sucking flies prefer complex calls because they indicate high densities of frog hosts.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

Call

A "whine" followed by zero to several "chucks". The release call consists of a series of clucks (Savage 2002).

Behavior and communication

Males call in choruses, often establishing a calling heirarchy, with one male starting a round of calling and others following in sequence (Brattstrom and Yarnell 1968). When more males are present in a chorus (i.e. their is greater competition for females), males are more likely to produce chucks in addition to whines. In individual male-male interactions, males respond dynamically to calls from conspecifics, only adding more chucks when the competitor's reaction is to escalate (Goutte et al 2010).  Female preference has been studied extensively in tungara frogs. In general, females prefer larger males (Rand 1980, Ryan 1980b, and Ryan 1983), but also males that produce whines followed by one or more chucks over males that produce only whines (Ryan 1980b). Females do not discriminate between calls of heterospecific males and calls of a most common ancestor (Ryan and Rand 1995), and this finding was robust to different models used to estimate the ancestral call (Ryan and Rand 1999). Females vary in their committedness to mate choice; females in better condition are more committed to their choice for a particular male than females in lesser condition (Baugh and Ryan 2009).  The male vocal sac has been hypothesized to be important in visual communication between males and females. The vocal sac is the most reflective part of the male's body and females in reproductive condition have the highest visual sensitivity (Cummings et al 2008). Rosenthal et al (2004) and Taylor et al (2008) demonstrated that the vocal sac is indeed an important component of male advertising that females attend to.

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Life Cycle

Life History

Breeding season

Tungara frogs breed year-round and in nearly every body of water they come across, from permanent ponds to puddles. Males call while floating in the water. Two cues females are known to use to select oviposition site choices are shallow water and a vertical surface perpendicular to the surface of the water--frogs construct their nests against this vertical structure (Sexton and Ortleb 1966). Females prefer to oviposit in bodies of water than lack nests of conspecifics, presumably to avoid intraspecific competition (Dillon and Fiano 2000).  Breeding activity varies in response to annual and nightly patterns of rainfall. In dry years, tungara frogs tend to breed on rainy nights, but in average years, they are more active on dry nights (Marsh 2000). Tungara frogs also concentrate breeding activity in areas of high pond density (Marsh 2001). Frogs also behave differently on moonlit versus moonless nights. Females are less likely to go to males in dim light than when in total darkness (Rand et al 1997). Tungaras are more likely to construct nests in covered areas when there is some light than in total darkness (Tarano 1998).

Egg

Many, small cream-colored eggs are laid in a foam nest constructed by the parents. Heyer and Rand (1977) and Dalgetty et al. (2010) provide detailed descriptions of foam nest construction as well as the function of the foam nest.

Tadpole

Tadpole bodies are mostly brown with some mottling. Tail is similiar in color, although the tail fins may be transparent. The ventral surface is white. Tadpoles develop in numerous environments, from permanent ponds to puddles. However, contrary to expectations, tadpole survival was not increased by conditions associated with new pond environments (Fegraus and Marsh 2000). Tadpoles are consumed by fish (Hews 1995), dragonfly larvae and turtles (Heyer and Muedeking 1976) and tadpoles of Leptodactylus pentadactylus (Heyer et al 1975). Dytiscid beetles are also closely associated with tungara frogs. Adult beetles lay their eggs on tungara foam nests, and when the larvae hatch they consume tungara tadpoles (Villa et al 1982).

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Evolotion

Female preference for chucks likely evolved via sensory exploitation of pre-existing biases (Cannatella et al 1998). Moreover, Phelps and Ryan (1998, 2000) showed that artificial neural networks evolving through calls mimicking the calls of ancestors of tungara frogs accurately predicted the response biases of females.  Much genetic variation exists among this widespread species. Northern (above Panama) and southern (below Panama) populations are genetically distinct (Weigt et al 2005, Prohl et al 2006). Colonization of Central American likely occurred prior to the formation of the Panama land bridge (Weigt et al 2005). In general, genetic differentation among populations is correlated with geographic distance, and rivers can be successful barriers to gene flow among populations (Lampert et al 2003). Moreover, some island populations are genetically distinct from mainland populations (Lampert et al 2007). These island populations are often larger than their mainland counterparts (Lampter et al 2007).

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Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Constructing bubble nests: foam-nesting frog
 

Bubble nests of foam-nesting frogs are constructed with precision using a three phase process.

           
  "Frogs that build foam nests floating on water face the problems of  over-dispersion of the secretions used and eggs being dangerously  exposed at the foam : air interface. Nest construction behaviour of  túngara frogs, Engystomops pustulosus [formerly Physalaemus pustulosus], has features that may  circumvent  these problems. Pairs build nests in periodic bursts of foam production  and egg deposition, three discrete phases being discernible. The first  is characterized by a bubble raft without egg deposition and an  approximately linear increase in duration of mixing events with time.  This phase may reduce initial over-dispersion of foam precursor  materials until a critical concentration is achieved. The main building  phase is marked by mixing events and start-to-start intervals being  nearly constant in duration. During the final phase, mixing events do  not change in duration but intervals between them increase in an  exponential-like fashion. Pairs joining a colonial nesting abbreviate  their initial phase, presumably by exploiting a pioneer pair's bubble  raft, thereby reducing energy and material expenditure, and time exposed  to predators. Finally, eggs are deposited only in the centre of nests  with a continuously produced, approximately 1 cm deep egg-free cortex  that protectively encloses hatched larvae in stranded nests." (Dalgetty  & Kennedy 2010:293)

Watch videos:

Nest Building Process

A Communal Pair of Nests



"Several tropical frogs, known as foam-nesters, also build a nest of bubbles. The mother exudes a fluid and beats it into microscopic bubbles with her hind legs. She then lays her eggs inside, and her mate, who has clung to her back throughout, fertilizes them. As the parents leave, the outer bubbles harden to form a protective case that encloses a foamy core of several thousand eggs. This foam nursery provides shelter from predators, bacteria, and sunlight, as well as preventing dehydration. Because the foam is mostly air it supplies all the embryos' oxygen needs until well after hatching. The nest then disintegrates, and the young emerge from the crowded apartment and, all being well, drop into the water below." (Downer 2002:54)


"The foam nests of the túngara frog (Engystomops pustulosus)  [formerly Physalaemus pustulosus] form a biocompatible incubation medium for eggs and sperm while  resisting considerable environmental and microbiological  assault. We have shown that much of this behaviour  can be attributed to a cocktail of six proteins, designated ranaspumins  (Rsn-1 to Rsn-6), which predominate in the foam.  These fall into two discernable classes based on sequence analysis and  biophysical  properties. Rsn-2, with an amphiphilic amino acid  sequence unlike any hitherto reported, exhibits substantial  detergent-like  surfactant activity necessary for production of  foam, yet is harmless to the membranes of eggs and spermatozoa. A  further  four (Rsn-3 to Rsn-6) are lectins, three of which  are similar to fucolectins found in teleosts but not previously  identified  in a land vertebrate, though with a carbohydrate  binding specificity different from previously described fucolectins. The  sixth, Rsn-1, is structurally similar to proteinase  inhibitors of the cystatin class, but does not itself appear to exhibit  any such activity. The nest foam itself, however,  does exhibit potent cystatin activity. Rsn-encoding genes are  transcribed  in many tissues of the adult frogs, but the full  cocktail is present only in oviduct glands. Combinations of lectins and  cystatins  have known roles in plants and animals for defence  against microbial colonization and insect attack. Túngara nest foam  displays  a novel synergy of selected elements of innate  defence plus a specialized surfactant protein, comprising a previously  unreported  strategy for protection of unattended reproductive  stages of animals." (Fleming et al. 2009:1787)




  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Downer, J. 2002. Weird Nature: An Astonishing Exploration of Nature's Strangest Behavior. Ontario: Firefly Books.
  • Fleming RI; Mackenzie CD; Cooper A; Kennedy MW. 2009. Foam nest components of the túngara frog: a cocktail of proteins conferring physical and biological resilience. Proc. Biol. Sci. 276(1663): 1787-95.
  • Dalgetty L; Kennedy MW. 2010. Building a home from foam--túngara frog foam nest architecture and three-phase construction process. Biology Letters. 6(3): 293-6.
  • Morelle R. 2010. How to whip up the perfect frothy frog 'meringue' nest. BBC News [Internet],
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Functional adaptation

Hardened bubbles provide protection: foam-nesting frog
 

Bubble nest of foam-nesting frogs protects eggs and young by hardening into a protective casing.

             
  "Several tropical frogs, known as foam-nesters, also build a nest of  bubbles. The mother exudes a fluid and beats it into microscopic bubbles  with her hind legs. She then lays her eggs inside, and her mate, who  has clung to her back throughout, fertilizes them. As the parents leave,  the outer bubbles harden to form a protective case that encloses a  foamy core of several thousand eggs. This foam nursery provides shelter  from predators, bacteria, and sunlight, as well as preventing  dehydration. Because the foam is mostly air it supplies all the embryos'  oxygen needs until well after hatching. The nest then disintegrates,  and the young emerge from the crowded apartment and, all being well,  drop into the water below." (Downer 2002:54)

  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Downer, J. 2002. Weird Nature: An Astonishing Exploration of Nature's Strangest Behavior. Ontario: Firefly Books.
  • Fleming RI; Mackenzie CD; Cooper A; Kennedy MW. 2009. Foam nest components of the túngara frog: a cocktail of proteins conferring physical and biological resilience. Proc. Biol. Sci. 276(1663): 1787-95.
  • Dalgetty L; Kennedy MW. 2010. Building a home from foam--túngara frog foam nest architecture and three-phase construction process. Biology Letters. 6(3): 293-6.
  • Morelle R. 2010. How to whip up the perfect frothy frog 'meringue' nest. BBC News [Internet],
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Functional adaptation

Nests are antimicrobial: foam-nesting frogs
 

Nests of foam-nesting frogs protect eggs and sperm from microbes using unique antimicrobial proteins called ranaspumins.

   
  "The foam nests of the túngara frog (Engystomops pustulosus) [formerly  Physalaemus  pustulosus]  form a biocompatible incubation medium for eggs and sperm while  resisting considerable environmental and microbiological  assault. We have shown that much of this behaviour  can be attributed to a cocktail of six proteins, designated ranaspumins  (Rsn-1 to Rsn-6), which predominate in the foam.  These fall into two discernable classes based on sequence analysis and  biophysical  properties. Rsn-2, with an amphiphilic amino acid  sequence unlike any hitherto reported, exhibits substantial  detergent-like  surfactant activity necessary for production of  foam, yet is harmless to the membranes of eggs and spermatozoa. A  further  four (Rsn-3 to Rsn-6) are lectins, three of which  are similar to fucolectins found in teleosts but not previously  identified  in a land vertebrate, though with a carbohydrate  binding specificity different from previously described fucolectins. The  sixth, Rsn-1, is structurally similar to proteinase  inhibitors of the cystatin class, but does not itself appear to exhibit  any such activity. The nest foam itself, however,  does exhibit potent cystatin activity. Rsn-encoding genes are  transcribed  in many tissues of the adult frogs, but the full  cocktail is present only in oviduct glands. Combinations of lectins and  cystatins  have known roles in plants and animals for defence  against microbial colonization and insect attack. Túngara nest foam  displays  a novel synergy of selected elements of innate  defence plus a specialized surfactant protein, comprising a previously  unreported  strategy for protection of unattended reproductive  stages of animals." (Fleming et al. 2009:1787)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Downer, J. 2002. Weird Nature: An Astonishing Exploration of Nature's Strangest Behavior. Ontario: Firefly Books.
  • Fleming RI; Mackenzie CD; Cooper A; Kennedy MW. 2009. Foam nest components of the túngara frog: a cocktail of proteins conferring physical and biological resilience. Proc. Biol. Sci. 276(1663): 1787-95.
  • Dalgetty L; Kennedy MW. 2010. Building a home from foam--túngara frog foam nest architecture and three-phase construction process. Biology Letters. 6(3): 293-6.
  • Morelle R. 2010. How to whip up the perfect frothy frog 'meringue' nest. BBC News [Internet],
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Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Physiology

The chuck call is produced by a separate vocal apparatus--a fibrous mass--from that which produces the whine (Ryan and Drewes 1990, Gridi-Papp et al 2006). Producing chucks is no more energetically costly than producing whines (Bucher et al 1982, Ryan et al 1983, Ryan 1985).  Females exposed to male choruses produce elevated levels of estradiol, suggesting that male chorus behavior may help maintain females in reproductive state (Lynch and Wilczynski 2006). Further, estradiol alone injected into females induces reproductive behavior (Chakraborty and Burmeister 2009). The hormonal state of females also affects female choice (Lynch et al 2006).  Neurobiology/Neuroethology: The hypothalamic region of the tungara brain is stimulated by acoustic cues, as measured by egr-1 mRNA levels (Hoke et al. 2005). However, the response of the hypothalamic region depends on the social relevance and attractiveness of the acoustic cue (Hoke et al. 2005, Hoke et al. 2007). The midbrain region of male and female tungaras respond differently to con- and hetero-specific calls. As predicted by theory that females should be more selective in their likelihood to respond to mating signals, females do not respond to calls of heterospecifics, whereas males do (Hoke et al. 2008).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Physalaemus pustulosus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Engystomops pustulosus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 43
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Georgina Santos-Barrera, Frank Solís, Roberto Ibáñez, Larry David Wilson, Jay Savage, Federico Bolaños, Julian Lee, Gerardo Chaves, Celsa Señaris, Andrés Acosta-Galvis, Jerry Hardy

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
It is an extremely common species in South America and much of Central America. It is uncommon in southwestern Campeche, Mexico, and Belize.

Population Trend
Stable
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Engystomops pustulosus lays its eggs in foam nests, generally under cover, in pools. The foam nests are believed to prevent egg desiccation during brief periods without rain (Ryan 1985). Laying eggs under cover may help avoid predation (Tarano 1998). Eggs are laid in a variety of habitats, including disturbed areas. However, pond use is correlated with proximity to other ponds, making this species vulnerable to habitat fragmentation (Marsh et al. 1999).

Males call at night while floating in the water. The call has two components: a whine and 0-6 chucks. Studies show that females prefer the calls with the chucks incorporated, but males of this species are preyed upon by the fringe-lipped bat (Trachops cirrhosus) which homes in on the chucks, providing an interesting case of sexual selection opposing natural selection (Ryan 1985).

  • Cannatella, D.C. and Duellman, W.E. (1984). ''Leptodactylid frogs of the Physalaemus pustulosus group.'' Copeia, 1984(4), 902-921.
  • Marsh, D.M., Fegraus, E.H., and Harrison, S. (1999). ''Effects of breeding pond isolation on the spatial and temporal dynamics of pond use by the Tungara Frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 804-814.
  • Ryan, M.J., Rand, A.S., and Weigt, L.A. (1996). ''Allozyme and advertisement call variation in the Tungara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Evolution, 50(6), 2435-2453.
  • Wendell, D., Todd, J., and Montemagno, C. (2010). ''Artificial photosynthesis in ranaspumin-2 based foam.'' Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl100550k.
  • Ryan, M.J. (1985). The Túngara Frog: A Study in Sexual Selection and Communication. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Santos-Barrera, G., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wilson, L. D., Savage, J., Bolaños, F., Lee, J., Chaves, G., Señaris, C., Acosta-Galvis, A., and Hardy, J. 2008. Engystomops pustulosus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 29 March 2010.
  • Tárano, Z. (1998). ''Cover and ambient light influence nesting preferences in the Túngara Frog Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Copeia, 1998(1), 250-251.
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Threats

Major Threats
With the exception of the impacts of fire on the vegetation structure, this species is unlikely to be facing any significant threats.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

This species is generally quite common in Central and South America and can occupy diverse habitats, including disturbed ones. It is not common in Belize or in southwestern Campeche, Mexico. It does not seem to be currently threatened. Its range overlaps with a number of protected areas (Santos-Barrera et al. 2008).

  • Cannatella, D.C. and Duellman, W.E. (1984). ''Leptodactylid frogs of the Physalaemus pustulosus group.'' Copeia, 1984(4), 902-921.
  • Marsh, D.M., Fegraus, E.H., and Harrison, S. (1999). ''Effects of breeding pond isolation on the spatial and temporal dynamics of pond use by the Tungara Frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 804-814.
  • Ryan, M.J., Rand, A.S., and Weigt, L.A. (1996). ''Allozyme and advertisement call variation in the Tungara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Evolution, 50(6), 2435-2453.
  • Wendell, D., Todd, J., and Montemagno, C. (2010). ''Artificial photosynthesis in ranaspumin-2 based foam.'' Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/nl100550k.
  • Ryan, M.J. (1985). The Túngara Frog: A Study in Sexual Selection and Communication. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Santos-Barrera, G., Solís, F., Ibáñez, R., Wilson, L. D., Savage, J., Bolaños, F., Lee, J., Chaves, G., Señaris, C., Acosta-Galvis, A., and Hardy, J. 2008. Engystomops pustulosus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 29 March 2010.
  • Tárano, Z. (1998). ''Cover and ambient light influence nesting preferences in the Túngara Frog Physalaemus pustulosus.'' Copeia, 1998(1), 250-251.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It occurs in protected areas throughout its range.
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Wikipedia

Tungara frog

The túngara frog (Engystomops pustulosus; formerly known as Physalaemus pustulosus) is a species of frog in the Leptodactylidae family.[2] Its local Spanish name is sapito de pustulas ("pustulated toadlet"). It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and possibly Guyana. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, pastureland, heavily degraded former forest, ponds, and canals and ditches.[1]

When mating, the male frog centers himself atop the female to do rhythmic mixing of a foam-producing solvent released by the female to generate a floating foam nest.[3] The foam nests are resistant bio-foams that protect the fertilized eggs from dehydration, sunlight, temperature, and potential pathogens until the tadpoles hatch. The nest degrades when the tadpoles leave after about four days, otherwise the nest can last for up to two weeks.

A protein present in the foam has been used by Carlos Montemagno, David Wendell, and Jacob Todd to create an artificial photosynthetic foam. Unlike chemical detergents the protein does not disrupt cell membranes allowing photosynthetic proteins to be positioned in the foam.[4] This new method for producing biofuel won a 2011 Earth Award.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Santos-Barrera, G., et al. (2010). "Engystomops pustulosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Engystomops pustulosus (Cope, 1864)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Dalgetty L. and M. W. Kennedy. (2010). Building a home from foam - túngara frog foam nest architecture and three-phase construction process. Biol. Lett. 6(3) 293-296.
  4. ^ Wendell, D.; Todd, J.; Montemagno, C. (2010). "Artificial photosynthesis in ranaspumin-2 based foam". Nano Letters 10 (9): 3231–3236. Bibcode:2010NanoL..10.3231W. doi:10.1021/nl100550k. PMID 20205454.  edit Free version
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