Species: Lemur leaf frog (Hylomantis lemur)
Status: Critically Endangered (CR)
Interesting Fact: The lemur leaf frog has a remarkable ability to change colour.
The lemur leaf frog has 24 hour camouflage protection. It is mostly bright green during the day, providing perfect camouflage while resting on the underside of leaves. At nightfall this frog becomes active, and the bright green darkens to brown, maintaining its camouflage.
Unusually for an amphibian, a reflective pigment in the skin enables the lemur leaf frog to bask in sunlight for long periods without drying out. This pigment keeps the frog cool while resting, and may also provide protection against the fungal disease chytridiomycosis, as the chytrid fungus is much less infectious at higher temperatures.
The lemur leaf frog is found in the rainforests of Costa Rica, Panama and northern Colombia. Despite the lemur leaf frog’s relative resistance to chytridiomycosis, the disease is still believed to be a major threat. Habitat destruction is another pressing threat to the lemur leaf frog. A number of zoos across the world are currently part of an effort to breed the lemur leaf frog outside of its natural range and away from the threat posed by chytridiomycosis.
Find out more about the lemur leaf frog on the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute website.
Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Researcher