Lemur Leaf Frog

Agalychnis lemur

The lemur leaf frog has an amazing ability to change color depending on whether it is active or resting. During the day, it usually rests on the underside of leaves, well camouflaged with a bright green skincolor. Hands, feet and sides are yellow and the belly is white. When active at night, the color changes and the frog turns brown and the eyes turn dark gray.

Please note that this species cannot currently be seen in the public part of the park.

Males: 3–4.1 cm Females: 3.9–5.3 cm

The species is not for display in the zoo. Nordens Ark work is exclusively with breeding and repopulation of this species.

The latin name lemur can be translated to spirits of the night or ghost, which you can understand when you see the lemur leaf frog climbing around at night with its big eyes open, moreover, it slowly climbs and grabbing the branches with its feet rather than jumping.  

Mating occurs during the rainy season and the male emits a short, ”tick” sound to attract the females. The females lay 15-30 eggs on a leaf which the male fertilizes over a body of water. After a week, the tadpoles hatch and fall into the pool of water, where they feed on small particles (pollen, insects, etc.) that float on the surface. After about 90 - 100 days, it is time for them to develop into small frogs that are ready to leave the water. 

Unlike many other frogs, the lemur leaf frog can sit and sunbathe for long periods, this is believed to be due to a special pigment in the skin that reflects away the heat. Perhaps this characteristic also makes the frog better able to resist the fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, which has hit the world's amphibians hard. The species has also been shown to produce peptides in its skin secretions that potentially have antibacterial properties.  

Lemur leaf frogs naturally occurs in Costa Rica, Panama and northern Colombia and are today classified as critically endangered. After previously being common in both Costa Rica and Panama, it is today only found in a few places in both countries. Recently, with the help of modern DNA technology, it has been established that the frogs in Costa Rica differ from those found in Panama and that they may be two different species. 

The individuals found on Nordens Ark are part of the European Association of Zoos' (EAZA) studbook and all individuals originate from Costa Rica. The goal of the studbook is to maintain a healthy genetic population and is kept as a living gene bank that can be used for reintroductions if deemed necessary.


Leif Nilsson Sponsor Bronze