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Scientific Name:
Ecnomiohyla rabborum

Conservation Status:
This species has not yet formally been reviewed by IUCN because it was only discovered in 2008. However, experts consider it to be extinct in the wild.

Where to see them:
The Amphibian Wall in the World of Reptiles

Fun Facts:

  • These frogs leap from the upper canopy tree branches in the forest and glide to the ground, using their massive webbed hands and feet to "steer" as they descend.
  • The males guard the tadpoles as they develop, and allow them to scrape skin cells of off his back for nutrition. No other frog in the world is known to do this.

UPDATE: A male Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog, believed to be one of only two of his kind left on Earth, has died at Zoo Atlanta. Read more>

Rabbs' Fringe-Limbed Treefrog

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Size
Adults are about five inches long

Range
One small area of Central Panama—the mountain slopes above the town of El Valle de Anton

Habitat
Upland cloud forest habitat

Lifestyle
Males apparently are territorial, defending tree holes in which eggs are deposited and the tadpoles develop. Males attend to the developing tadpoles and apparently feed them by  spending the day with their bodies half submerged in the water with the tadpoles. During this time, the tadpoles may be seen constantly swimming around the submerged regions of the male’s body and eating small flecks of what appears to be skin coming off of his body. Adults are known to leap from high branches and glide, using outstretched limbs and full webbing on the hands and feet, to the ground. At the time of its discovery, this was not a common species in the forest. 

Food
In captivity these frogs love to eat large crickets, grasshoppers, katydids and cockroaches. This is probably very similar to their diet in the wild.

Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)

Evergreen toads, horned marsupial frogs, lemur leaf frogs, streamside rainfrogs, spiny-headed treefrogs.

Population Status & Threats

The only known population was drastically reduced immediately upon the arrival of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, into the region in 2006.  One individual was heard calling in December 2007. None were heard or observed in 2008, despite considerable time afield.

Zoo Atlanta Conservation Efforts
Scientists at Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Botanical Garden led the effort to discover and formally name this spectacular new species, and there is one male in our collection. There is only one other Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog known to exist, also a male, housed by our good friends and colleagues at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.