[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][text_output]Inflammation has a cardinal color of choice—red, blood red. It’s a bothersome itch, the worrisome hump on your upper-arm, an uncanny canker sore; all of them ringed by hues of secondary reds. The inducing discomfort that follows is unbearable to many—and pharmaceuticals have capitalized on this situational nuisance. But the amphibious ilk we share this biosphere with have spun the anatomical color wheel in a different direction; Red-eye Tree Frogs (Agalychnis callidryas) capitalized on where the arrow landed.

Through Central America’s Ecological Lense

Amplexing in the mid-to-low lying canopies of Central America’s humid lowlands, often times found well-nested in the shaded confines of a bromeliad, Red-eye Tree Frogs are a common sight backdropped among such rainforests—and like-set-up wildlife advertisements. They’re enigmatic, spellbinding hylids (jargon for “tree frogs”); their gem-like ruby-red eyes only enchanting the masses further. But RETF (an acronym adopted by numerous “herpers” who care for captive specimens) aren’t strangers to the riparian ecosystems snaking through much of their endemic range. Regardless of their ecological niche these anurans call home, the constant common denominator that choruses throughout is this: stable temperatures in the mid-80’s and sweatshop-like humidity levels.

In The Eyes Of Fear

There’s no questioning what anatomical feature sticks-out like a proverbial sore thumb in RETFs; their stop-sign eyes. It gave them their common moniker, after all. However, there’s so much more than meets the eye—pun intended.

To give you a solid breath in the vacuums scientific jargon can sometimes create, let me define deimatic behaviour before we go head-first into it’s relation to these long-limbed anurans: the adopted behaviour any said animal expresses in order to appear “bigger than life,” so to speak, in moments of predation or situational danger. Exhale, please. The notion may or may not be blindingly clear by now: those larger-than-life eyes are, clearly, designed to present distractions in otherwise life-threatening focuses. A mammalian predator fixated on such a frog might, very well, question its intent after meeting those flare-like eyes squarely in the face. It may step back in confusion; it may allow the frog to be caressed by the hands of spared time. Nothing in nature is designed absentmindedly, as we all know—especially in faces of passing clock faces.

Everyday, we spin painted drums in metaphoric swings. Some mornings are brighter than others; not all afternoons embrace the pastels we had canvassed hours prior. Then there are those evenings that ruminate in “reds,” our heads inflamed by the day’s mind-chatter. In those moments, flip the psychological coin. Embrace the power-color in a better manner —much like a hylid from the equatorial rainforest.

By Matt Charnock[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][text_output]Above: Red-eye Tree Frogs (Agalychnis callidryas) have become the ubiquitous amphibian associated with rainforests—regardless if that ecosystem’s outside their endemic ranges. Photo © Danel Solabarrieta.[/text_output]

[text_output]A pair of Red-eye Tree Frogs in the midst of copulating. Photo © Brian Gratwicke.[/text_output][text_output]Red-eye Tree Frogs are recognized as “LC” (Least Concern) by the IUCN Red List, but heavy deforestation practices and the introduction of a stubborn strain of chytrid could give their conservation-standing blush a more red shade. Photo © Swallowtail Garden Seeds.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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