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Cuban Tree Frog

Osteopilus Septentrionalis


Young Cuban Tree Frog hiding out inside an early morning dewy, newly opening leaf of a Banana tree... The Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) is an amphibian native to the Caribbean region of the Western Hemisphere. It is the largest tree frog of North America. Its wide diet and ability to thrive amongst humans has made it a highly invasive species with established colonies in northern Florida, the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and thorough the Caribbean Islands.[1] They range in size from 3 to 5.5 in (76 to 140 mm) and vary in color from olive-brown and bronze to gray or grayish-white. A nocturnal, tree-dwelling frog, it is known to eat almost anything that will fit in its mouth and to mate year-round. Their arrival in a new community is believed to be detrimental to local species, and it has been suggested that these frogs be destroyed on sight upon their arrival in new habitats. Cuban tree frogs are commonly available as pets; however, because the animal secretes a toxic mucus from its skin that can cause a burning sensation in the eyes, it is not an ideal pet. Further distribution of the species is believed to have been expanded by the release of these pet animals.


The Cuban tree frog is native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. This large frog has been introduced in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, many islands of the Lesser Antilles, and Hawaii. Whether the species was native to the Key West region of Florida is debated,[7] or if it was introduced to the area. First discovered in the 1930s,[9] they may have arrived on ships in the 1800s[8] or could have made it to the area by natural means.[9] They can survive in brackish water, which may have helped the species to spread to various islands.[5] The Cuban tree frogs' progressive colonization into the mainland of Florida is believed to be abetted by use of State Road A1A construction during the 1940s.[10] The species is now established in southern Florida and parts of the panhandle region, and can be found as far north as South Carolina.[1] The Cuban tree frog is known to hitchhike on shipments of potted plants,[11] vegetation, packaging,[10] boats, and other motorized vehicles.[1] 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 coexist with humans.[10] In addition, they also secrete a toxic mucus from their skin which helps to limit the number of natural predators.[4] Cuban tree frogs are known to inhabit a variety of habitats, including estuaries, low-density suburban development, small towns, agricultural areas, particularly ones with exotic plants, and lowland forests and swamps.[12] Within their habitats, they can be found in damp, shady areas, particularly around shrubs and trees,[2] by cisterns, rain barrels,[5] and buildings.

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Sarasota, Florida, USA

Spotted on Oct 2, 2013
Submitted on Dec 30, 2013

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