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Cuban Treefrogs

Osteopilus septentrionalis


The Cuban tree frogs range in size from 3 to 5.5 inches (76 to 140 mm) in length. It is the largest tree frog in North America and has a rough warty skin. Their toepads are much larger than those of other tree frogs and they will often have an orange-tint to their eyes. Varying in color from, olive-brown, bronze, gray, or grayish-white. Cuban tree frogs can change colors depending on their temperature and environment. Many individuals have darker splotches on the back, and some splotchy banding on the legs. In many individuals, the hidden surfaces of the legs are bright yellow. When the frog leaps to avoid a predator, these bright yellow patches are visible, and may help to confuse the predator. Also, the skin on their heads is fused to the skull—if the head of an adult frog is rubbed (between the eyes), the skin does not move. This is a special adaptation that prevents water loss, since there are fewer blood vessels in the "co-ossified" (fused) area. When handled, Cuban tree frogs secrete a toxic mucus from their skin. In humans, this can cause an allergic reaction or burning sensation to the eyes and nose, and even trigger asthma


The Cuban tree frog is native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. This large frog has been introduced in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, many islands of the Lesser Antilles, and Hawaii. There is debate over if the species was native to the Key West region of Florida,or if it was introduced to the area. First discovered in the 1930s, it is theorized that they might arrived on ships in the 1800s[8] or could have made it to the area by natural means. They can survive in brackish water and this ability may have helped the species to spread to various islands. The Cuban tree frogs progressed colonization into the mainland of Florida is believed to be by use of Florida State Road A1A construction during the 1940s. The species is now established in southern Florida and parts of the panhandle region and can be found as far north as South Carolina. The Cuban tree frog is known to hitchhike on shipments of potted plants, vegetation, packaging, boats, and other motorized vehicles. Once in a new location the frogs become an invasive species. They have several good colonizing traits, such as: high fecundity, short generation time, a diverse diet, good competitive ability, and the ability to co-exist with humans. In addition they also secrete a toxic mucus from their skin which helps to limit the number of natural predators. Cuban tree frogs are known to inhabit a variety of communities, including estuarys, low-density suburban development, small towns, agricultural areas, particularly ones with exotic plants, and lowland forests and swamps. Within their habitat they can be found in damp, shady areas, particularly around shrubs and trees, by cisterns, rain barrels and buildings.

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Spotted by

Florida, USA

Spotted on May 23, 2012
Submitted on May 23, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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