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in Drake Bay, Costa Rica



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Craugastor fitzingeri

A Night Tour would not be complete without encountering a Common Rain Frog. This is by far the most common nocturnal frog in Drake Bay. Common Rain Frog - Craugastor fitzingeri

They are medium sized frogs, and adults measure between 23 and 53 millimeters. As with most frogs, females are much larger than males. Males are very vocal and can be heard calling sporadically throughout the night, much more frequently during the rainy season.

Their advertising call has been described as a series of "clacks", resembling two small rocks being struck against one another. Males will respond to other calling males as well as to humans imitators. This makes locating these frogs a much easier task. It seems that males respond to other calls with a much shorter and harsher cackle, possibly a territorial call. Males seem to be quite territorial and we have had several irate frogs approach us frantically when we call out to them.

Common Rain Frog - Craugastor fitzingeriColoration and color patterns may be quite variable within this species. Some individuals have a stripe running down their back, some have spots, while others have a solid color. Coloration may range from gray to brown and anywhere in between.

This has led to much confusion and many misidentifications of these frogs by researchers throughout the years.

Even with all of these variations, they do have a few distinguishing characteristics. A pattern of yellow spots overlaid on a dark background located on the back of the thighs and a diffuse white line running down the middle of their throat are diagnostic. Their call is also diagnostic. Since females don't call, though, this is only useful in identifying males.

Common Rain Frogs - Craugastor fitzingeriDespite being so abundant, Common Rain Frogs have proven to be something of an enigma for scientists. The first recorded discovery of their nest dates back to June 2, 1931. Dunn found a nest with 44 eggs laid on the ground, underneath leaf litter. There was an adult frog, probably a female, guarding the egg clutch.

Incredibly, this was the only recorded egg clutch found by scientists for over 70 years!  During these 7 decades researches pursued, unsuccessfully, their quest for the common rain frog's egg clutch.  A thirteen month study of the leaf litter carried out at La Selva Biological Station failed to reveal any nests.

Common Rain Frog - Craugastor fitzingeriIn 2002, 71 years after the first nest was discovered, Mendoza found a second Common Rain Frog nest on the ground with 85 eggs and a female frog guarding them. The embryos in this species go through direct development inside the egg. They never have a free swimming tadpole stage and tiny, fully formed frogs emerge from the eggs.

Common Rain Frogs are known to exist in humid zones of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.




Amphibiaweb Article on Craugastor fitzingeri available at:

Beletsky, L.  2005  Travellers' Wildlife Guides Costa Rica  Interlink Publishing

Leenders, T.  2001  A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica  Zona Tropical

Savage, J.  2002  The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica   University of Chicago Press


Mammals of the Osa Peninsula

The Frog Files

Frogs Home Page

Common Rain Frog - Craugastor fitzingeri

Gaufy Leaf Frog - Agalychnis callidryas

Gladiator Tree Frog - Hypsiboas rosenbergi

Glass Frogs Home Page

Emerald Glass Frog - Centrolenella prosobleponCascade Glass Frog - Cochranella albomaculataGranular Glass Frog - Cochranella granulosaCricket Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium colymbiphyllumDusty Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium pulveratumReticulated Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

Gliding Leaf Frog - Agalychnis spurrelli

Hourglass Tree Frog - Dendropsophus ebraccatus

Giant Marine Toad - Bufo marinus

Masked Tree Frog - Smilisca phaeota

Smoky Jungle Frog - Leptodactylus petadactylus

Tink Frog - Diasporus diastema

Salamanders - Order: Caudata



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