Agalychnis lemur is a small slender tree frog that occurs in the premontane rainforests of lower Central America. It is the smallest of the Costa Rican Leaf Frogs, with a typical average snout-vent length of 30-45mm (Kubicki, 2004). Females are typically larger than males.
The dorsal skin is smooth and the colour ranges from bright yellow-green during the day to red-brown at night. Individuals have dark flecks on the dorsal surface and this is a feature that varies between different populations of these frogs.
The eyes are large and contain a vertical pupil. Unlike some other Agalychnis, the lower eyelid is not reticulated. The iris during the day is silver or pale gold, changing to purplish grey or brown colour at night. This iris colour is also surrounded by black.
The hands and feet of the frog lack webbing, and this feature was previously a key morphological characteristic which separated this species and other members of the Hylid subfamily Phyllomedusinae from frogs in the genus Agalychnis. However, recent DNA profiling has confirmed taxonomy:
◦ Phylum: Chordata
◦ Class: Amphibia
◦ Order: Anura
◦ Family: Hylidae
◦ Sub-family: Phyllomedusinae
◦ Genus: Agalychnis
A. lemur is active during the night and sleeps during the day on the underside of leaves. The frogs are highly nocturnal, leaving their daytime resting places to hunt for food and reproduce (Jungfer and Weygoldt, 1994). The breeding sites of P. lemur are leaves overhanging pools or slow moving streams (Kubicki, 2004). Egg masses are laid on the surface of leaves in similar fashion to other members of the genus.
The species produces a mate attraction call that consists of a series of single, short “ticks” (Savage 2002). It also produces a more rapid encounter call and release calls, used during male-male interactions (Jungfer and Weygoldt, 1994). Males often engage in aggressive interactions with other males, grappling with opponents. Jungfer & Weygoldt (1994) were also first to describe the breeding biology of the species in detail with specimens in captivity.
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