(Hypopachus variolosus)
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Geographic range: Nearctic, Neotropical: This frog inhabits arid regions of México and Central America. On the western coast, it ranges from the vicinity of Álamos, Sonora south to Costa Rica. On the eastern coast, it occurs from the foothills of c. Nuevo Leon and s. Texas southwards to Costa Rica. From sea level to over 2100 m. (pers. Obs.)

Physical characteristics: A moderately sized frog with smooth skin, a pointed head and narrow snout. It is similar to Gastrophryne but larger and more robust. The skin is smooth, yet glandular, and the frog produces a toxic secretion. An inconspicuous fold is present on the back of the head. The ground coloration may vary among different shades of tan, brown or grey. A mid-dorsal line is usually present on the dorsum, although nw. Méxican specimens may lack it completely. There are two metatarsal tubercles on the foot, which make this species similar to Gastrophryne usta. The latter does not have webbed toes.

Taxonomy: No subspecies recognized. This species is likely a complex of several similar species.

Food habits: It feeds on small invertebrates, especially ant and termites.

Behavior: This frog is strictly nocturnal, and usually active only during periods of heavy summer rains. During periods of inactivity, it seeks shelter in burrows, beneath fallen vegetation, under rocks, or other surface debris.

Reproduction: It breeds in a variety of temporary waters such as flooded fields, rain pools, road side ditches, flooded plantations and cattle tanks.

This species inhabits a variety of open habitats. It may be found in thornscrub, tropical deciduous forest, tropical savanna, tropical grassland, oak woodland, mesquite grassland, agricultural areas and other open areas.

Biomes: grassland, tropical forest

Conservation: Although rather abundant throughout it's range, this frog is easily overlooked. It was reported extinct from Sonora (Schwalbe & Lowe, 2001), however, it has since been re-discovered in the vicinity of Álamos. (pers. Obs.)

text by Chris Grünwald

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