Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species included

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AsydaBass
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Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species included

Post by AsydaBass »

Hello again,

I started a thread a couple of weeks ago about the amphibians of Costa Rica:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8592&hilit=costa+rica+amphibians

Immediately after I posted it I left to go back in the field and have pretty much been out of contact since. I'm back at a computer now and I thought I'd share the last couple of weeks worth of amphibians. I tried not to duplicate any species, but a few made it in there, but no duplicate photos. A few neat things have happened since the last post which I'd like to share. Someone had asked about Cruziohyla calcarifer- and a day or two later I found one, many people commented about the salamanders- so I'll add a few more species to the photo buffet.

Special guest appearance by an undescribed species of lungless salamander!

Agalychnis callidryas, The media star of the rainforest

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Agalychnis saltator, the lesser known cousin of the red-eyed treefrog. This species is known to parachute down from the canopy

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Smilisca sordida, the Drab Treefrog.

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I move to have this species name changed- There is nothing drab about having a bright blue groin!

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Scinax elaeochrous, a common pool breeding species in the lowlands

Important lesson learned with this species: Do not keep reproductively excited males in the same room you are sleeping in... cause you won't sleep.
Male in his going out clothes

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Male showing daytime colors

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Amplectant pair

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Dendropsophus ebraccatus, the Hourglass Treefrog

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Dendropsophus phlebodes, a small hylid found around pools of water

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This specimen appeared to have a problem with its leg, which may explain the strange behavior of sitting on the railing of the boardwalk. Every other frog was found on vegetation that night.

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I'm no expert, but I don't think that's the best place to hang out...
Not surprisingly, there were many spiders seen in the swamp that night, including a gorgeous orange Cuppienius sp.

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Tlalocohyla loquax sticks to the deeper parts of the swamp

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In one night walk I managed to locate 16 species of herps within a couple of hours- on the short boardwalk in the Cantarana Swamp alone, there were 13 species present. This does not count unseen glassfrog species (two or three) identified by audio cues later in the evening- La Selva Biological Station.

Here's one of the stars of the anuran world:

Cruziohyla calcarifer, Grey-eyed or Splendid Leaf frog

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This is the first record of this species for the Rara Avis Rainforest Reserve. It was encountered at 730m asl. In 2002 Savage puts the max. elevation for this species at a mere 85m asl, though there is an additional record for 2002 in CR around 100m. Kohler (2011) states that this species can be found up to 820m in South America. This species has also been recorded at a reserve (CRARC) in Guayacan, Costa Rica that ranges from lowlands to ~800m asl, though I am uncertain at which elevation it has been recorded at there. The point is- it was a rather "out-of-place" and completely unexpected sighting, and coupled with a few other finds, made for a tie for the best night walk of my life!

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This species is also a canopy dwelling glider, look at the size of those pads! They come down from the canopy to breed in water retaining depressions in buttresses and fallen trees. As far as tropical species go, they have an extremely long larval stage that can last for more than 200 days!

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Diasporus diastema, the Common Tink Frog, is a species more often heard than seen. Their disproportionately loud call is emitted from secluded places such as the undersides of leaves or the axils of bromeliads. Notice the diagnostic white marks posterior to the finger discs.

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Sticking with the ex-Eleutherodactylids here are a few more rain/litter frogs (I am currently writing a book about this group):

Pristimantis cerasinus, the Clay-colored Rainfrog

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Pristimantis cruentus, the Golden-groined Rainfrog, showing off its namesake. This juvenile has just started developing its coloration

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Craugastor bransfordii showing just one of the many color phases and patterns that this species demonstrates.

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In the first Costa Rican amphibian post I presented you with two similar looking species from the Craugastor gollmeri group: C. gollmeri and C. noblei.

Here is the third and final member: Craugastor mimus

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My favorite member of the Costa Rican terrarana-
Craugastor megacephalus, the Broad-headed Rain Frog:

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Juvenile

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This picture was taken by my friend Ivy on a hike we took back in 2010. I wanted to show this beautiful yellow coloration

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A little help while working on the book

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And what's a CR post without Oophaga pumilio, the Strawberry Poison-dart Frog to brighten things up

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Incilius (Bufo) coniferus, the Green Climbing Toad can often be found breeding in the water-filled tractor trail on the "road" to Rara Avis.

Who doesn't like pink toads?
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Rhaebo haematiticus, the Smooth-skinned Litter Toad seemed to be popping up more often than usual at the higher elevations in the past two months.

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In the previous installment I raved about the Smokey Jungle Frog, (Rana comepollo in spanish), here's a different perspective of this species.
Leptodactylus savagei

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Sachatamia ilex, the Ghost-eyed Glassfrog

I know what you're thinking, I already posted pictures of this species in the last thread, and seriously, who would ever want to see this little guy twice?
;)

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Largest glassfrog in Central America

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Field diagnostic #3: Protuberant nostrils positioned on a distinct ridge: check!

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And the reason for reintroducing this species....

Male/male combat!

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Hanging upside down from a leaf

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Another familiar face- Teratohyla spinosa, the Spined or Dwarf Glassfrog, smallest in Central America. This species has a protruding prepollical spine next to the inner-most finger

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Egg series: Teratohyla spinosa

In situ: 3 Nov 2011

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4 Nov 2011

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7 Nov 2011

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And now- tropical lungless snot lizards- Plethodontids! There are three genera represented in Costa Rica- Here's a taste from all three.

The mustache sporting Bolitoglossa colonnea. The Ridge-headed Salamander is so named for its fleshy interorbital ridge.

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This species has completely webbed feet

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This salamander is a member of the Nototriton picadoi group. Logically it should be Nototriton abscondens, however something just isn't sitting well with me about the identification... The nostrils appear too large.

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This little Nototriton was found in the epiphytic mat on a medium sized tree branch (30cm diameter) seven meters up in the canopy. It was inside the root/mud mixture, not against the limb itself. Imagine digging for Ambystomids in the mud... just like that, but suspended from a rope in the canopy :)

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Time to get the calipers out. Taking measurements on a specimen this small is fun...

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Oedipina uniformis, my backyard lifer!
I found these two Common Worm Salamanders in two days under some loose concrete in the backyard.

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Prime habitat, hahaha!

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All he wants for Christmas is a set of real hands and feet.

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And finally, the undescribed species of salamander! I was waiting to post any photos of this species, however, seeing as it has been posted elsewhere already (Connecticut Audubon Society blog, and the Reserve's facebook page...) I guess it's now safe to show it off.

A little background on this find:

I found this salamander in the Rara Avis Rainforest Reserve back in the middle of February 2011. It was found by sampling fallen tank bromeliads (Vriesea hieroglyphica) along a trail leading up to Rara Avis. The bromeliad was well rotted, so it was not possible to know if the salamander resided in the plant before it fell from the canopy. I showed the specimen to my friend Twan when he arrived in the beginning of March, and after much discussion we came to the preliminary conclusion that it was quite possibly a "new" species of salamander. Upon returning to the States, an email with attached photos was sent to Dave Wake, who confirmed that it was indeed an undescribed species of Oedipina, subgenus: Oedipinola. To date that was one of the most exciting emails of my life!

I present to you a mature male Oedipina sp.:

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Thanks for looking!

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Pura Vida,

-Don

millside
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by millside »

wow, another awesome segment,
congrats on the new species. mmm,costa rica

Matt Arnold
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Matt Arnold »

Fantastic!!!! AMAZING photos! Ive never been so excited about frogs before in my life.. :lol:

Looking forward to meeting you at the BURM bash in January!

Matt

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Cole Grover
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Cole Grover »

Phenomenal! I wasn't sure a second post could hold a candle to the first part of the series... I'm happy to be wrong! Those tropical Plethodontids are amazing critters. Truly awesome. Do Cruziohyla spawn on leaves like their relatives, on the trunk/bark, or directly in the water?

Will there be other installments to this series? I sure as hell hope so!

-Cole

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Jason B
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Jason B »

Nice. I had no idea Nototriton climb trees. I like The glass frog egg mass series.

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

Thanks guys! I'm more than happy to share these things with FHF. In a longer story than we have time for, the existence of FHF is indirectly responsible for all of this. Cryptic, I know, but it's a story better told in person.

Matt- I'm excited to meet some new faces at Burm Bash as well. I guess I should be polite and say that I'm happy to see Josh Holbrook also....ehhh ;-)

No promises, but I may have a nice surprise for the group once we get there...Bringing a bit of Costa adventure to the Glades- that's your hint.

Cole, both leaves and bark are used as egg deposition sites, though I believe trunks or limbs are used more often than over hanging leaves. They're not obligate, but they're egg feeders as well. Cruziohyla has an amazing natural history.

As far as other installments go... I haven't even touched the reptiles yet :D My reserve alone has 60 species of snakes!

Jason, I can't stress it enough, unless we are studying the tree itself, we just simply can't think of them as trees and as climbing. I know it sounds weird. But for any animal smaller than a sloth, monkey, or anteater, it's not a matter of climbing a tree as we think of it- those moss covered limbs are large enough to be considered "normal ground" to all but the largest canopy inhabitant. Think of bromeliads- some of these tank bromeliads can hold a gallon of water- take a large limb with four or five large broms. on it and you have a swamp! Well, if you're a frog or a katydid... The way those limbs and crowns weave and interlock, it's just amazing. It's as if the forest floor disappears.

-Don

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Jason B
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Jason B »

I understand how an entire micro habitat is available among the bromeliads, orchids, ferns and moss of a large tree branch, but I never considered a Nototriton as able to reach those branches. Bolitoglossa, sure, but Notitriton have spindly legs and tiny feet. Part of my bias is probably due to the fact that all three species I've seen were found under ground cover or leaf litter. Old trees in the tropics have trunks covered in vines and ferns. I suppose as long as there is enough of this cover the trunk serves as a vertical extension of the forest floor to a small animal.

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jason folt
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by jason folt »

Don,

Super awesome... My brother spent 2-3 months at La Selva in 2010 doing a research project on the litter frogs. I went down to visit for a week, so they are some of my favorites. I missed out on all the glass frogs and salamanders... I am sure he will be super excited to see this post. We lucked into a C. calcarifer on our last night. It would be interesting to compare some notes. The Cantarana swamp was very good to me as well.

I hope people don't mind an extra helping of calcarifer...
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He is going back for a while this winter. I would love to get back down again with him, but I think the wife has other thoughts about that...

Such a great post.

Jason

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TNWJackson
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by TNWJackson »

Fantastic sequel! I can't wait for the reptiles (or to make a trip to Costa Rica myself).

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

Jason, I certainly wasn't implying that you didn't understand, not at all. Having spent so much time in the canopy down there, I've come to a few realizations that, let's just say I get quite excited when someone brings them up :-) It's not too often these days that I get to talk about it with anyone, so your comment got me going- in a good way.

As far as Nototriton go, one of the text book definitions (Savage, 2002) is moss covered banks on roadsides, or wording very similar to that. At the elevation where this was found, ~2000m, the epiphytic load is overwhelming. There's not a trunk in the forest that isn't covered with moss; it's incredible, even for a rainforest...well, technically this was a cloud forest. So as you said, crawling through the moss on the ground, one can just continue on up through the moss into the canopy, and for a minute creature such as the salamander, there's no difference. One of my favorite personal discoveries was that the majority of the scansorial and "true" canopy animals behave no differently at 100ft up than they do when they are on the ground. I wish I could same the same...

I'll dig up a photo of the site later tonight, it's a spectacular place.

-Don

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

Jason Folt, I don't think anyone ever minds more C. calcarifer, it's like cowbell, you just can't have enough of it.

What's your brother's name? Does he post on here as well?

TNWJackson, Thanks! It'll be a while until I put a reptile post together. In the mean time fly south and make your own! Aside from airfare, Costa Rica can be as cheap or as expensive as you'd like.

Pura Vida,
-Don

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Don Becker
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Don Becker »

Is it required now that new species of Plethodontids that are discovered be required to have a light patch on their nose?

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

No, however it is required that all field researchers searching for Plethodontids must carry a light colored sharpie marker with them :P

-Don

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TNWJackson
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by TNWJackson »

AsydaBass wrote: TNWJackson, Thanks! It'll be a while until I put a reptile post together. In the mean time fly south and make your own! Aside from airfare, Costa Rica can be as cheap or as expensive as you'd like.
Haha actually I'd be flying a long way northwest....or northeast across the dateline more likely. I'll get there eventually but it won't be anytime soon unfortunately. In the meantime I can live vicariously through posts like yours.

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jonathan
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by jonathan »

I think I see why Costa Rica is considered the herper's mecca.

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jason folt
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by jason folt »

Don - His name is Brian Folt. He used to post a little bit, but pretty much stopped after starting grad school. He might be emailing or PMing you.

Jason

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

jonathan wrote:I think I see why Costa Rica is considered the herper's mecca.
I'm thinking FHF field trip to Costa Rica in mid 2012...


-Don

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Mike Pingleton »

AsydaBass wrote:
jonathan wrote:I think I see why Costa Rica is considered the herper's mecca.
I'm thinking FHF field trip to Costa Rica in mid 2012...
-Don
I'm in.

-Mike

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Mike Pingleton »

Congrats on the new Oedipina (Oedipinola?). That's awesome.

Amphibian overload! The Sachatamia ilex combat shots were amazing. I'm glad you added more of the other, less jaw-dropping species as well. I like the Scinax, I saw a couple different species in Peru and think they're pretty interesting.

thanks, Mike

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

Thanks Mike. I still get excited every time I see Scinax boulengeri; I love that crocodile snout! Peru has Scinax garbei, the greenish counterpart of S. boulengeri. I would love to see it one day. It's always so interesting to see a species closely related to one that you're familiar with.

As far as a trip to Costa goes, over the rest of the week, I could start to put together a preliminary itinerary with a rough estimate of cost. From there we can see who's interested and just how many people could make it work.

-Don

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Josh Holbrook »

Soo... I have become much more tolerant but...

Howsabout some serpents?

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Warren
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Warren »

hi donald it's your grandfather, nice presentation on the computing machine, lots of colorful frogs, looks like you had fun in florida, please call because my email is hidden again, the dog misses you, love, warren l

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) »

Every time I think I'm totally sated with Costa Rica posts, someone comes along and injects new life in the topic. Amazing post. That glass frog is out of this world.

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kcmatt
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by kcmatt »

Awesome stuff. Loved the Cruziohyla shots and the Glassfrogs, esp. the combatants. Congratulations on the Oedipina find!

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Mike VanValen
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Mike VanValen »

Very cool stuff. I have to get down there soon, I don't see any other option. :lol:

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Philsuma
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Philsuma »

Good stuff Don. I see that living in C.R agrees with you. I was down a couple years ago and want to come back.

Also, stop by Dart Den sometime...I own it now.

Take care,

~Phil

AsydaBass
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AsydaBass »

Hey Phil, ya things have been well down there, I've been very fortunate to have this experience. I'll check out dart den tonight. I really miss keeping dendrobatids, it was such an enjoyable hobby.

-Don

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moloch
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by moloch »

This was a fantastic post. I have gone through the photos a few times over the last week. You came up with some lovely shots of the amphibians and wow, what diversity!

Regards,
David

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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by AndyO'Connor »

sorry for dragging an older post up, I can't believe I missed all of the great October posts... I have been saving up for a trio of them for a little while, but it is photos like the one in this post that have me obsessed with Cruziohyla, and why I am serious about dropping a 4 digit figure on a trio of them in 2013. sorry to mish mash field herping and captive topics, but I am drooling right now.

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Don Becker
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Re: Costa Rica - Amphibians part 2: undescribed species incl

Post by Don Becker »

Philsuma wrote:Good stuff Don. I see that living in C.R agrees with you. I was down a couple years ago and want to come back.
Your comment really confused me when the page loaded considered my name is also Don, and I live in Cedar Rapids.

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