The most widely distributed frog in the Eastern Caribbean (2), the Lesser Antillean whistling frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei) is an otherwise rather indistinct, small- to medium-sized frog of dull brown to greyish-tan colour, with large golden-brown eyes. A V-shaped marking, or chevron, normally sits on the shoulder, occasionally with a second chevron behind, and there is often a pair of broad dorsal stripes. The back of the legs are marbled, stippled or blotched with black, with a creamy under-side. This frog has rounded fingers that have large, adhesive disks which lack webbing. The male Lesser Antillean whistling frog is smaller than the female (3).
During the wet season between June and August, the male Lesser Antillean whistling frog begins courtship by finding a prominent site from which to call out to females. By calling from an exposed, conspicuous position, females are able to locate the calling male and initiate mating (3)(4). Once paired with a mate, the male Lesser Antillean whistling frog leads the female to a suitable egg-laying site (3), where the female lays 10 to 30 eggs on the ground, occasionally under a rock, and guards the eggs from predators (1)(3)(4). The eggs are covered by a thin layer of mucus which prevents the eggs from drying out (3). The eggs hatch by direct development, meaning that the developing frogs miss the tadpole stage and emerge as tiny froglets (1).
The Lesser Antillean whistling frog’s diet includes ants, spiders and termites (4).
The Lesser Antillean whistling frog occurs on most of the Lesser Antillean islands in the Caribbean, including Anguilla, Barbados, Montserrat and St Lucia. The Lesser Antillean whistling frog has more recently been introduced to numerous other countries including Bermuda, Jamaica, Panama and Venezuela (1).
The Lesser Antillean whistling frog is a highly adaptable and versatile species which occurs in a diversity of habitats, although it is mainly found in disturbed areas, such as cultivated fields, gardens and plantations. It is found from sea level up to at least 1,300 metres (1).
There are no known major threats to the Lesser Antillean whistling frog, and, with an increasing population, it is not currently at risk of extinction. Within its introduced range, where it occupies degraded habitats, its adaptable nature has allowed it to out-compete native species. In its native range, however, the Lesser Antillean whistling frog may be susceptible to the chytrid fungus, which is attributed with causing dramatic amphibian declines across the globe, meaning it may become threatened by future outbreaks of this deadly disease (2)(3)(5).
In the absence of major threats to the Lesser Antillean whistling frog, it has not been the target of any known conservation measures. It does, however, occur in many protected areas (1).
Within its introduced range, the Lesser Antillean whistling frog is benefiting from increased human activity as it occupies degraded habitats. But, due to the adverse affect it has on native frog populations, there are plans to actively eradicate the species (1).
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