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 Smoky Jungle Frog (1999)
(Leptodactylus pentadactylus)

Acrylic on illustration board
7" x 7"
Private collection

 Family Lepodactylidae -- the rain frogs

One of the major frog families of South and Central America, this group includes the largest vertebrate genus, Eleutherodactylus. With well over 400 species, it includes about ten percent of all named frog species, and ensures that frog identification in the neotropics will always remain a nightmare. The eggs of this genus are laid out of water and develop directly into fully-formed froglets. Around fifty other genera are usually ascribed to this widely diverse family, including the well-known horned frogs of the genus Ceratophrys, the grotesque Budgett's frogs, the large aquatic Lake Titicaca frog and its Andean relatives of the genus Telmatobius, and the two species of Batrachophrynus found in Lake Junín, Peru, the largest of which is one of the most massive, as well as one of the most weird anurans.

    Smoky Jungle Frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus)

The smoky jungle frog is a common denizen of primary forest from Nicaragua to Brazil. At dusk it emerges from its burrow to prey upon arthropods and small vertebrates, ready at any hint of danger to hop backwards into its hole. Capable of reaching eight inches in length, this substantial amphibian is hunted for food by people over much of its range. The female lays several hundred tiny eggs in a foam nest constructed in a burrow which must be flooded by rains for the tadpoles to survive.