The Virtual Rainforest
A Neotropical Rainforest
Rainforest Research


Tree Seedlings

Forest Flowers



Army Ants

Bullet Ants
Leafcutter Ants

Rhinoceros Beetle

Swallowtail Butterfly



Keel-billed Toucan

Howler Monkeys

White-faced Monkeys

Three-toed Sloth
Baird's Tapir
White-lipped Peccary
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Poison Dart Frog
Helmeted Iguana
Eyelash Viper
Terciopelo Viper
Spectacled Caiman
American Crocodile
Human Systems:
Rainforest Boy
Rainforest Girl
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Rainforest Research

About the Authors





The Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)

The abundance of moisture in a rainforest allows many different kinds of amphibians, such as this Red-eyed Tree Frog, to live there. Amphibians lose moisture through their skin and need a moist environment. The Red-eyed Tree Frog lives in the canopy of the rainforest most of the time, but comes down to ponds when it needs to breed. These frogs are quite common in the rainforests of Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

The pair of Red-eyed Tree Frogs pictured here are looking for a place to mate. The larger female carries the male on her back until she finds a good place to put her eggs.

Red-eyed Tree Frog EggsWhen the pair find a location, the female will lay the eggs on the underside of a leaf above water. The male will fertilize the eggs and after about a week they will hatch and fall into the water. The tadpoles will grow into small frogs and leave the water afer three months.



Hourglass Tree Frog (Hyla ebraccata)

This tiny treefrog (less than 1" or 2.5 cm long) lives high in the rainforest canopy for most of the year. During the rainy season, it descends to swamps and ponds in the rainforest for breeding.

Because they are so small, they are at great risk of predation when breeding. The bold little males sing from exposed perches hoping to lure a female in, but trying at the same time to avoid getting eaten. Cat-eyed Snakes and Frog-eating Spiders are among the most common threats, but Bulldog Fishing Bats and other winged predators also threaten the frogs.

If successful in breeding, the female lays eggs on a leaf that eventually fall into the water. There they hatch into beautiful gold and black striped tadpoles, where they quickly grow and metamorphose into frogs. The young frogs then head for the trees until the next breeding season.

Purple Caecelian (Gymnophis multiplicata)

There is a strange type of amphibian that lives in the rainforest, called a CAECILIAN (pronounce just like Sicilian). It looks like a cross between a snake and an earthworm, and lives in the dirt like an earthworm. Caecilians spend most of their time living underground where they eat earthworms, grubs, ants and other invertebrate animals. They rare rarely seen above ground, but if you watch the video you can see one that probably had just finished breeding above ground and was trying go back to its underground home.




The Virtual Rainforest

Back to the Rainforest

Copyright Gerald R. Urquhart
Michigan State University

Students and teachers have permission to quote text and use images from this website in class assignments. Images may be used in classroom and academic presentations with notification of author. All other use should request permission.


Virtual Rainforest development supported by grant #0815966 from the
National Science Foundation

Center for Global Change and Earth Observation

Michigan State University