Red eyed tree frog breeding takes place during the rainy season between October and March. It begins with a cacophony of song and ends with hundreds of eggs. The process is a well-orchestrated occurrence. Surely the rainforests must come alive with frog song during this productive season. New life takes shape and those that survive the predators will grow to become one of the most beloved amphibians.
Answering the Call
Male red eyed tree frogs call to get the attention of the female. The call is made with short chuckling notes. Males cluster around the female whose eggs are now mature, wrestling in competition for the one female. The winning male latches onto the female’s back with his legs. In red eyed tree frog breeding, this process to fertilize the female’s eggs is called amplexus. Sometimes the female will carry several males until they eventually wrestle one another and there is only one left.
Amplexus generally takes place on the underside of a leaf that hangs over water. The female hangs onto the leaf with the suction of her toes. The female red eyed tree frog releases her eggs and the male frog fertilizes them. Each of these groups of eggs is called a clutch. After releasing each clutch the female must enter the water in order to refill her bladder. This prevents the next clutch from drying out.
Laying the Eggs
The female lays her eggs on the underside of the leaf. Often the female will cover the clutch with the leaf to prevent them from drying out. The clutches remain on the leaf for six days, where the eggs develop into tadpoles. The eggs are contained with a gelatinous coating, which deteriorates, allowing the hatching tadpoles to come out and drop to the water below.
The female generally deposits three to four clutches, which contain anywhere from 15 to 70 eggs. Once in the water, the red eyed tree frog tadpoles remain there for up to several months as they develop into juvenile frogs. These small frogs then make their way back into the undergrowth of the forest close to the water. It takes the red eyed tree frog two years to mature and they will begin to mate at three to four years.
Red eyed tree frog breeding can be accomplished in captivity if the proper conditions are met with humidity, temperature and following guidelines for the rainy season. You must also simulate the conditions of the preceding dry season to have successful breeding results.
The Latin meaning of the word Amplexus means embrace. This is essentially how the female’s eggs become fertilized. When the male attaches himself to her by wrapping his legs around her, he is essentially embracing her and the life she will produce. From song to embrace, the frog’s life is an enchanting process.