Nocturnal Macro-Adventure - Featured species: Hourglass Treefrog (Dendropsophus ebraccatus)


Hourglass Treefrog or Pantless Treefrog (Dendropsophus ebraccatus), is a species of frog in the Hylidae family. On the Atlantic slope they occur in isolated populations in Chiapas, northern Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and northern Nicaragua. Starting in southern Nicaragua, its populations become more or less continuous through Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. On the Pacific slope, it occurs locally in Costa Rica and Colombia. From near sea level to 1,600 m (5,250 ft). 


This species is beautifully patterned by yellow and brown curvy blotches, with yellow spots on brown areas, and brown spots on yellow areas. Typically has a cream to pale yellow lip stripe that is broadly expanded below each eye, and a brown mask that extends posteriorly, covering the eardrums and continuing onto the body. 


This is a common and widespread species of humid lowland forests. Like other tree frogs it is nocturnal and its activity peaks during periods of rain, although individuals can be found nearly year-round in appropriate habitat.


Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, pastureland, plantations, heavily degraded former forest, and ponds.


They spend the dry season in the forest canopy. Once the rainy season begins, they descend to temporary ponds which have flooded with rain water. The hourglass treefrog reproduces differently from most other frogs. It can lay its eggs on land or in water, depending on the environment. If it has shade, it will lay them on leaves of plants above the pond. If it has little or no shade, it will lay them in the water, usually attached to submerged vegetation. If eggs are laid above a pond, tadpoles will hatch and drop into the water below. Tadpoles also show predator-induced plasticity in their tail colour when exposed to dragonfly nymphs.


It is very adaptable, and has been found in very open landscapes in Costa Rica. The major threats are likely to be deforestation for agricultural development, illegal crops, logging, and human settlement, and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops.