Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

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The Real Snake Man
Posts: 405
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Location: Pasadena, CA or Mission, TX

Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by The Real Snake Man » January 29th, 2014, 3:13 pm

To begin with, here's a little background:

I grew up and still reside in the Rio Grande Valley. I am a life-long herp enthusiast, but I have found a relatively small number of herps during my "career" because, being a kid, I had neither wheels nor land nor permission granted to me so that I could go find my beloved quarry. I am now a senior in high school, about to leave my area and possibly even the state, and I have almost never seen any of the awesome, special herps associated with my south Texas homeland and Mexico to the south. This winter, I resolved that my final spring and summer here would not be wasted. I made some major investments with birthday and Christmas money, did a few odd jobs for family, and purchased a new setup for better photography of herps (macro, flash, etc.). Now I am only waiting until April to begin my epic season (that's when I typically begin seeing the cold-blooded critters).

And to end with, here's the point:

In the Valley, there are several species of animal (most famously, birds like the tropical parula and ringed kingfisher and a flock of others) which, even historically, made their northernmost native home in the area in and around the Rio Grande Delta in South Texas. Popular examples among reptiles and amphibians include the Giant Toad (Rhinella marina), the Speckled Racer (Drymobius margaritiferus), the Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira septentrionalis), the Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis), and the Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii). Of course, there are several others, but I am mainly interested in one in particular: the Mexican White-lipped Frog (Leptodactylus fragilis, or, in older literature, L. labialis). I read in one book that the south Texas population "may be extirpated" by "organophosphate chemicals," but this seems ambiguous. Does this mean "they may eventually be extirpated," or "they may already be extirpated"? There also seems to be no new literature about the Texas populations, but there are apparently four known historic localities in Texas: one in Cameron County, two in Hidalgo County, and one in Starr County. The state of Texas lists them as Threatened. So my questions are as follows:
1. Has anyone here ever seen a Mexican White-lipped Frog in south Texas, and if so, when and where (the "where" part could be pm'd)?
2. Does anyone know any real details about the localities where they have been found? This is all I have discovered:

Website: http://vertebrates.si.edu/herps/herps_s ... _pubs.html

The article: 1978. Heyer, W. R. Systematics of the fuscus group of the frog genus Leptodactylus (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae). Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Bulletin, (29):1-85.

Relevant information: “UNITED STATES. TEXAS. Cameron County; Brownsville, FMNH 27150 (12); Hidalgo County; 10 mi NW Edinburg, USNM 101143-44; 15 mi W Mission, UMMZ 98905; Starr County; 13 mi SE Rio Grande City, Arroyo El Salado, AMNH 46014, FMNH 107556-57.”


That's about it. If I can get my hands on the four localities, I will be visiting these areas in the rainy season to try and confirm their presence. Perhaps the situation of the Texas population is not as dire as I make it sound, but I have noticed that all of the field guide images of the species are of specimens found in Mexico, indicating that the species is not being seen in Texas anymore, which would be a sad loss. They are the only species of Leptodactylus (according to SSAR taxonomy) native to the US, and they whip a sort of foamy nest to protect their eggs. Not to mention, they just look neat! I'd love to find one, but I want to know where to start. Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks,

-Gene

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Jeff
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Location: Louisiana

Re: Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by Jeff » January 29th, 2014, 4:57 pm

Those are all relatively old numbers for those institutions. You can find those records, plus those of other institutions, by doing a search here http://herpnet.org/

In addition, three of those collections have searchable databases online.

Jeff

John Williams
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Joined: June 16th, 2010, 4:50 pm

Re: Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by John Williams » January 29th, 2014, 6:48 pm

They are still around. Another forum member and I found a decent chorus (10+ calling males) in 2010. He took a recording but I'm not sure he still has it.

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The Real Snake Man
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Location: Pasadena, CA or Mission, TX

Re: Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by The Real Snake Man » January 29th, 2014, 7:23 pm

Really? Could you message me the location? I would really, really love to see one in TX.

John Williams
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Re: Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by John Williams » January 29th, 2014, 8:06 pm

Looked back at my notes and it was actually 2008.

troy hibbitts
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Joined: July 20th, 2010, 4:50 pm

Re: Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by troy hibbitts » January 30th, 2014, 11:56 am

even when you find them calling, they call from INSIDE grass clumps, and are extremely difficult to locate when you do find them

Troy

John Williams
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Re: Mexican White-lipped Frogs in Texas

Post by John Williams » January 30th, 2014, 7:32 pm

Yep. We couldn't locate any.

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