Cochran's treefrog (Eleutherodactylus cochranae)

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Cochran's treefrog with vocal sac inflated
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Cochran's treefrog fact file

Cochran's treefrog description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAmphibia
OrderAnura
FamilyEleutherodactylidae
GenusEleutherodactylus (1)

Cochran’s treefrog (Eleutherodactylus cochranae) is a tiny amphibian known from the western Caribbean, growing to a maximum length of around two centimetres (2). This miniscule frog has a very angular, broad, flat head, a short body, and small pads on the long digits (3). The upperparts are grey, tan or grey-brown with a light grey pattern that resembles a pair of reversed parentheses (2) (4) (5). The limbs may be white, cream, yellow or grey, and the throat and the underparts of the thighs are speckled with fine brown spots (2) (4) (5). There is also a dark line between the large, conspicuous, forward-facing eyes (3) (4)

The most common call of Cochran’s treefrog is a loud, repeated, single, rising whistle that is sometimes followed by one to three clicks (2).

Also known as
whistling coqui.
Synonyms
Eleutherodactylus ramosi.
Spanish
Coqui Pitito, Pitito.
Size
Snout-vent length: 1.6 - 2 cm (2)
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Cochran's treefrog biology

Primarily nocturnal, during the day Cochran’s treefrog resides in bromeliads or in crevices in trees (1). The male is known to have at least three, fairly simple calls: one for advertising to females, one for during courtship, and one that is emitted from a crevice when it is threatened by predators or other males (6)

Cochran’s treefrog is thought to breed year round. After breeding, the eggs are laid between a fold in a bromeliad leaf. The leaf protects both the eggs and an adult of unknown sex, which attends the clutch. The eggs are thought to hatch after around two days. Cochran’s treefrog hatchlings develop directly, meaning that they skip the tadpole stage. The adult attends the juveniles for four or five days, when they then disperse (7).

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Cochran's treefrog range

Cochran’s treefrog is native to Puerto Rico, Isla Vieques, Isla Culebra, the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands (1).

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Cochran's treefrog habitat

A largely arboreal species, Cochran’s treefrog lives in bromeliads and palms in dry wooded forests. It may also be found in disturbed and natural coastal grass-dominated wetlands and is fairly common around urban areas (1) (2) (4).

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Cochran's treefrog status

Cochran’s treefrog is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1)

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Cochran's treefrog threats

There is little information available on the status of Cochran’s treefrog, but considering that it is a habitat generalist and fairly common around urban areas, its populations are probably stable (1) (4). However, in the British Virgin Islands almost a quarter of all amphibian species are categorised as endangered, suggesting the islands fauna is facing a wealth of threats. Habitat degradation and conversion to developments for tourism, human settlements and road construction are particularly severe problems, while predation from introduced mammals, such as rats and mongoose, also threatens many native species (8). It is not clear what impact these threats are having on the Cochran’s treefrog population there, but it is also thought to be declining with the spread of the predatory Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) (1) (8)

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Cochran's treefrog conservation

Although not the target of any known conservation measures, Cochran’s treefrog and its habitat are afforded protection in a number of reserves (1). On the British Virgin Islands a number of conservation recommendations have been made to protect the native fauna, including the creation of protected areas and minimising the impacts of development through the better enforcement of protective legislation (8). Increased monitoring efforts for amphibian populations may also be required given the potential for deadly diseases, such as the fungal disease chytridiomycosis, to break out on the islands, especially as disease has been associated with dramatic amphibian declines on nearby islands, such as on Puerto Rico (8) (9).

ARKive is supported by OTEP, a joint programme of funding from the UK FCO and DFID which provides support to address priority environmental issues in the Overseas Territories, and Defra
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Find out more

Find out more about conservation in the British Virgin Islands:

For more information on amphibian conservation:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Arboreal
An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. U.S. Geological Survey - Cochran’s treefrog (March, 2011)
    http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/herps/Frogs_and_Toads/E_cochranae/e_cochranae.html
  3. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. AmphibiaWeb - Cochran’s treefrog (March, 2011)
    http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Eleutherodactylus&where-species=cochranae
  5. Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R.W. (1991) Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, Distributions and Natural History. The University of Florida Press, Florida.
  6. Michael, S.F. (1997) Reptiles vocalization and diurnal retreat defense in the Puerto Rican Frog Eleutherodactylus cochranae. Journal of Herpetology, 31: 453-456.
  7. Villanueva-Rjvera, L.J. and Joglar, R.L. (2001) Eleutherodactylus cochranae (Coqui Pitito) reproduction. Herpetological Review, 32: 182.
  8. Perry, G. and Gerber, G.P. (2006) Conservation of amphibians and reptiles in the British Virgin Islands: Status and patterns. Applied Herpetology, 3: 237-256.
  9. Burrowes, P.A., Joglar, R.L. and Green, D.E. (2004) Potential causes for amphibian declines in Puerto Rico. Herpetologica, 60: 141-154.
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Image credit

Cochran's treefrog with vocal sac inflated  
Cochran's treefrog with vocal sac inflated

© Kristiina Ovaska

Kristiina Ovaska
kovaska@shaw.ca

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