why do tree frogs have red eyes

Thanks to their big bulging red eyes, it's not hard to recognize red-eyed tree frogs. This alien-like feature is a defense mechanism called "startle coloration. " When the frog closes its eyes, its green eyelids help it to blend in with the leafy environment. If the nocturnal frog is approached while asleep during the day, its suddenly open eyes will momentarily paralyze the predator, providing the frog with a few seconds to escape. However, the frogs' eyes are not their only fashion statement! To match the brilliance of their eyes, these frogs have bright lime green bodies that sometimes feature hints of yellow or blue. According to their mood, red-eyed tree frogs can even become a dark green or reddish-brown color. They have white bellies and throats but their sides are blue with white borders and vertical white bars. Their feet are bright red or orange. Adept climbers, red-eyed tree frogs have cup-like footpads that enable them to spend their days clinging to leaves in the rainforest canopy, and their nights hunting for insects and smaller frogs.


Male red-eyed tree frogs can grow up to two inches in length and females can grow up to three inches.
During the mating season, the male frogs shake the branches where they are sitting to improve their chances of finding a mate by keeping rivals at bay. This is the first evidence that tree-dwelling vertebrates use vibration to communicate. When rainfall is at its highest, a male red-eyed treefrog calls "chack" to get the attention of the female. During, the female carries the male on her back for several hours during the oviposition process. The female chooses a leaf above a pond or large puddle on which to lay her of roughly 40 eggs. Since oviposition generally occurs on both sides of a leaf, red-eyed treefrogs may fold the leaf to hide the eggs from predators. They also produce sticky jelly to glue the eggs together; this may protect the eggs from splitting and dehydration. The eggs develop into tadpoles, which hatch after six to seven days and fall into the water below.


Red-eyed treefrog eggs hatch early (exhibiting ) when a change in the environment signals a danger to their survival. Dragonflies, fish, and water beetles prey on the tadpoles. The tadpoles remain in the water from three weeks to several months, until they metamorphose into frogs. The time of metamorphosis depends on duration of larval stage, which varies depending on environment. After metamorphosis, the color of tadpoles' torsos changes from green to brown, and their eyes, which are initially yellow, turn into deep red without much side patterning. These changes mark maturity. The lifespan of red-eyed treefrogs is about five years. Young frogs that survive the first few weeks after move into the undergrowth and security of plants near their natal pools, often into the hollows of tubular plants such as bromeliads. Young frogs prey on very small flies and other insects during the first months of their lives. The young mature after two years and begin mating at the age of three to four years.


These treefrogs are known to live up to five years (data from captive-breeding programs), depending on the health and conditions of their habitat (when aided by abundant plant growth, plenty of fresh water, and an abundance of small and larger insects on which to prey). They sometimes breed successfully in captivity if kept in high-humidity vivaria (e. g. , by using misting equipment), tropical plants such as and other plants, together with well-aerated water pools. Their captive habitat should have a light cycle with 1112 hours of daylight and an average day temperature of 2628P`C (and night-time averages of 2235P`C). Simulating a rainy season once a year in November to December encourages reproduction. Red-eyed treefrogs' embryos exhibit phenotypic plasticity, hatching early in response to disturbance to protect themselves. Though embryos are bred synchronously, they normally hatch after 6 to 10 days from oviposition without disturbance.


However, a simultaneously early hatching in entire clutches is triggered when embryos are exposed to their predators or threatening environmental changes such as rainstorm and flood. Predators are the major cause of this response. Since these frogs usually lay eggs on both the upper and the undersides of leaves above ponds, clutches need to protect themselves against arboreal, aerial and aquatic predators, such as snakes, dragonflies, fish, monkeys, and pathogenic fungi. When predators are close enough to produce detectable vibration, the embryos assess disturbance. After a few seconds, embryos vigorously hatch out into tadpoles and spread out to escape. Since eggs are usually laid above ponds, the response improves survival because tadpoles often fall into water on hatching. When tadpoles fall onto dry ground, they can survive up to 20 hours without water. However, vibration and disturbance caused by unthreatening environmental changes or other species do not induce early hatching.

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