Black-Eyed Tree Frog
Morelet’s tree frog (Agalychnis moreletii) is a species of tree frog of family Hylidae. It belongs to the leaf frog subfamily (Phyllomedusinae), and is found in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. They have also been called black-eyed leaf frog and popeye hyla.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, freshwater marshes, and intermittent freshwater marshes. This frog is almost extinct due to habitat loss.
Morelet’s tree frog was abundant within its range and were kept as pets internationally. However it is currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List as of 2001 because of habitat destruction and disease. Industry and agriculture are thought to be the main causes of lowland montane forest destruction. The population of Morelet’s tree frogs are also being decimated due to a disease called Chytridiomycosis, which is an infectious disease that kills amphibians. Chytridiomycosis and habitat destruction are projected to cause the population to decline over 80% in the next 10 years. In some regions, the frogs have gone extinct completely. For example, a study done in 2004, has claimed that Morelet’s tree frog may be extirpated from the region of Southern Mexico. Small snakes also are predators of Morelet’s tree frog.
Of course there is also the threat of pollution which causes the waters to become more acidic causing direct negative impacts on the tadpoles and frogs. In fact there are about nine different levels of the scale and how close to extinction the species is, this frog was a seven (Critically Endangered), it is two levels ahead of extinction! According to the U.S. Delegation website, “U.S. Supports Amphibian and Reptile Proposals That Receive International Protection.” This is positive news because it means that the governments agree on keeping these amphibians and reptiles from becoming extinct and are taking steps necessary to prevent their extinction. It is because of harmful chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that’s the Earth’s ozone layer has diminished, which results in increased levels of ultraviolet radiation penetrating through the Earth’s surface. “Exposure to UV-B radiation causes genetic mutations that can prevent normal development or kill eggs. Increased UV-B levels particularly affect the many frog species whose eggs lack shells and float on the exposed surfaces of ponds. Tadpoles and frogs are also at risk, because of their thin delicate skins.”
Morelet’s tree frogs are dying at a rapid rate. Their survival is dependent upon several factors due to their human and disease caused population decline. Some conservation measures are in place, while others are still in need of implementation or research. A number of protected parks have been created to curb habitat destruction in areas of Central America and Mexico. Taxonomic research is currently in place to further understand the population’s status. More data is needed, however, on a temporal and spatial scale to determine trends in the population of Morelet’s tree frogs. source