The amphibian fauna of the Konashen COCA includes frogs, toads, and legless, snake-like caecilians. Twenty-five species of amphibians were recorded during a recent biological survey of the area, however there are certainly more species present in the area. Amphibians play an important role in the forest habitats of Konashen, both as predators of insects and other small organisms, and as food for reptiles, birds, and mammals. In some parts of South America, the venom of highly toxic amphibian species is used for hunting arrows.
Because amphibians have no scales or hair to protect their skin, they are very sensitive to pollution in the water, air, and soil. This makes them good indicators of the overall health of the environment. When an area, such as the Konashen COCA, harbors large populations of many different amphibian species, this shows that the area has clean air and water.
IN DEPTH: Follow our herpetology team into the Konashen.
Throughout the world, numbers of amphibians are declining as a result of various factors including increased pollution, outbreaks of disease, and disappearing natural habitats. Scientists estimate that almost half of all amphibian species on earth are threatened with extinction. Conserving areas that provide habitat to many different species of amphibians, such as the Konashen COCA, is therefore even more important for the survival of these sensitive animals.
Blue poison arrow frog
The Blue poison arrow frog (Dendrobates azureus), also known as Kirpapa, is a beautiful animal, with bright coloration. The skin of this frog species is highly toxic, and the frog advertises its noxious properties with its very noticable colors.
The frogs obtain their toxins from ants, on which they feed. If a frog is forced to feed on insects other than ants, it will lose its toxicity over time. The venom of some species of poison arrow frogs is used by Amerindians to hunt monkeys and other mammals.
The monkey frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna), also known as Kepetu, is a slow-moving, brightly colored tree frog. The monkey frog has a toxic body and, like the poison arrow frog, the bold patterns on its legs and sides serve to warn other animals of this toxicity.
These frogs produce a waxy substance, which they rub all over their bodies. This helps them retain water by making their skin less permeable.
The Surinam toad (Pipa pipa), also known as Kuxpa, is undoubtedly one of the most unusual amphibian species in the world. This animal is completely aquatic, and has lost the ability to jump on land. Its body is very flat and resembles a large, brown leaf submerged under water.
The Surinam toad also has truly unusual breeding habits. During a highly ritualized mating, with significant help from her partner, the female deposits her eggs directly on her own back. The eggs sink into her skin, where the entire development of tiny tadpoles takes place. Young froglets emerge fully developed from their mother’s back, ready to begin independent life.