Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Hourglass Tree Frog

(Dendropsophus ebraccatus)

Habitat and Distribution: Found in tropical rainforests of Southern Mexico, Central America and Northern Colombia

Size: Up to 1.5 inches long

Wild Diet: Moths and other small insects

Predators: Cat-eyed snakes, frog-eating spiders and bats

Lifespan: Up to 3 years

Reproduction: Hourglass tree frogs breed mainly during the rainy season, when temporary rain pools are abundant. In a behavior called "lekking," males gather to strut and show off their mating calls. Females then choose mates based on this display and the frequency of the calls. Females lay jelly-like masses of eggs in water, on the water's edge, or on leaves that overhang water pools, which keeps them out of reach of aquatic predators. 5-7 days later, hundreds of tiny gold tadpoles hatch and drop from the leaves into the water below. After developing into frogs, they return to the trees.

Behavior: Hourglass tree frogs are arboreal and nocturnal. Although they are mostly active at night, they may also be active in late afternoon or after rain.

Conservation

IUCN Status: Least Concern

The rainforest habitat of the hourglass tree frog is threatened. Like all amphibians, hourglass tree frogs are highly sensitive to environmental changes and fungal infection because of their permeable skin.

Did you know?

  • Hourglass tree frogs are named for the hourglass-shaped marking on their back, but not all of them have this marking.
  • They can change colors--usually from brown to orange to yellow--depending on mood, surroundings, and stress level.