Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog

Lesser_Antillean_FrogThe Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei) is the most common frog within the Eastern Caribbean. It is also known as Johnstone’s Tree Frog, named after Robert Johnstone, the Chief Justice of Grenada who helped discover the first specimens. This frog is found on most islands of the Lesser Antillean including Saba, Anguilla, Barbados, St. Eustatius, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and Montserrat, and was recently introduced via boats to a number of countries such as Jamaica, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama. One of the reasons the Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog is so widely distributed in the Eastern Caribbean region is because it adapts very well to different types of habitats, mostly moist areas such as forests, gardens and plantations.

A small to medium sized frog, the Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog has a typical frog shape with a small head, large eyes and small and rounded fingers. The feet are however not webbed like most frogs; instead they have large adhesive disks. Females, which have an average length of 3.2 centimeters, are typically larger than males, which have an average length of 2.3 centimeters. Lesser Antillean Whistling Frogs have a dull brown to greyish-tan body with paler undersides. The back of the legs are marbled with black. Some frogs have two dark dorsal stripes along their back. Each shoulder typically has a black V-shaped marking, also known as a chevron. The large brown eyes have a golden iris.

Lesser Antillean Whistling Frogs are most active at night Lesser_Antillean_Frog2and hide away during the day. They feed on ants, spiders and termites that they catch on the ground. They typically mate from June to August. When the mating season begins, the males will call the females by whistling two notes: one quick, low note immediately followed with a longer, higher note. Females lay 10 to 30 eggs on the ground in a shady, damp area. The eggs are not laid in a pond as is typical of many frog species. Young Lesser Antillean Whistling Frogs have no tadpole stage; they develop directly within the egg and are born as very small, fully developed frogs.