Hyla picta

Hyla picta

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Family: Hylidae

Common names: Cricket Treefrog / Painted Treefrog

1) Distinguishing features

Size (SVL) Adult males 18 - 21mm, females 20 - 23mm. Smallest of the Belizean treefrogs.

Dorsal colour is cream to medium olive-brown with small dark flecks. Most conspicuous feature is dorsolateral white stripe extending from the nostril posteriorly to the groin region, often accompanied by a dark stripe below - only Belizean frog to consistently exhibit this light stripe. Venter is mostly whitish except for yellow vocal sac in breeding males. Forearm relatively short and slender and a distinct axillary membrane is present. The discs on digits are relatively small, fingers are one third webbed, and toes about three quarters webbed. Poorly defined tarsal fold is present distally on the tarsus.

2) Distribution

Near sea level to about 600m (upper limits unknown). Known from the Evergreen Broadleaf, Semi-evergreen Seasonal Forest, Mountain Pine Ridge, Karst Hills Forest, Savannah vegetation and the Coastal Lagoons and Marshes and Interior Wetlands formations. Probably countrywide in Belize.

3) Natural history

In the dry season found in bromeliads and banana plants. Breeds at the beginning of the rainy season in temporary bodies of water, usually in open areas. Males call from blades of tall grass or shrubs that are emergent in the water. Eggs are deposited on vegetation in or just above the water. Call is shrill, insect like buzz, sometimes likened to a cricket. H. picta often breeds in association with H. microcephala and Scinax staufferi, but its vocalization is much weaker than theirs and its presence can thus be overlooked.

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