• Kevin Esser

Paraguay - Chaco

In April, I had the opportunity to go with my parents on a trip to Paraguay. It was not really a herping trip but of course we took some time to check out the paraguayan nature. The west of Paraguay (región occidental) is part of the Gran Chaco, a region characterized by dry forests and thorny bushes. The whole area is sparsely populated. Large areas of untouched wilderness are habitat for numerous animal species. Deforestation is a big problem though. Hopefully the people of Paraguay will be able to preserve this natural treasure!


Chaco bridge

Caiman Yacare - habitat

The waters of the chaco are the kingdom of the Yacare Caiman (Caiman yacare). As a small and medium-sized crocodilian, most adult males grow to roughly 2 or 2.5 m (6.6 or 8.2 ft) in length. Females are much smaller, at an average of 1.4 m (4.6 ft).


Caiman Yacare

Jabiru mycteria - Jabiru

The Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) is a large stork found from Mexico to Argentina, except west of the Andes. It is the tallest flying bird found in South America and Central America.


Chaco

Disappointingly, I could not photograph a living snake in the Chaco. Two snakes crossed the road: A large Indigo Snake (Drymarchon corais) and some kind of racer... no chance to catch or take a picture - good that they could cross the road safely. Two dead snakes we found had less luck, another indigo snake and a Tropical Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus)... very sad, but unfortunately the fate of many animals in the Chaco.


Drymarchon corais - Indigo Snake DOR

So without success with snakes, frogs had to save the day! And they did - we found some cool species. My favorite frog was the Orange-legged Monkey Frog, also called Earless Leaf Frog (Phyllomedusa azurea).

Phyllomedusa azurea - Orange-legged Monkey Frog

Phyllomedusa azurea - Orange-legged Monkey Frog

The Warty Snouted Treefrog (Scinax acuminatus) is very well camouflaged. It looks like a piece of wood.

Scinax acuminatus - Warty Snouted Treefrog

Scinax acuminatus - Warty Snouted Treefrog

The smallest frog we found was this little Menwig Frog (Physalaemus albonotatus). Very cute little guy!

Physalaemus albonotatus - Menwig Frog

Physalaemus albonotatus - Menwig Frog

The Shovel-nosed Chamber Frog (Leptodactylus bufonius) has evolved an incredible adaptation for overcoming the challenges of living in mostly dry conditions. With their shovel-like noses, they dig a chamber in the mud and then top it with a mud cone. Because no water can penetrate these chambers, the frogs produce a foam nest from the female's albumin secretions to keep the tadpoles moist.

Leptodactylus bufonius - Shovel-nosed Chamber Frog

Leptodactylus bufonius - Shovel-nosed Chamber Frog

Leptodactylus bufonius - Shovel-nosed Chamber Frog

There is an interesting fact about the Paradoxical Frog (Pseudis paradoxa): Its name refers to the very large tadpoles, which are up to 25 cm (10 inch) long, and in turn becomes an ordinary-sized frog, only about a quarter of its former length.

Pseudis paradoxa - Paradoxical Frog

In conclusion I want to show you another specimen of my favorite frog.

Phyllomedusa azurea - Orange-legged Monkey Frog

Phyllomedusa azurea - Orange-legged Monkey Frog



Indication of source:

www.faunaparaguay.com

www.frogsaregreen.org