The Critically Endangered Casillon robber frog is a fossorial species, meaning that it is adapted to digging and life underground.
The Casillon robber frog is one of more than 100 species comprising the diverse Eleutherodactylus genus. These species were previously considered part of an even larger genus containing more than 700 species, before it was split into several smaller genera in distinct families.
Though there is still much work to be done regarding the taxonomy of this large group of frogs, which is distributed across Latin America, it is thought they diverged from all other amphibians more than 50 million years ago. In evolutionary terms, this means these frogs are as distantly related to other amphibians as wolves are to tigers!
Males are found calling from underground chambers and eggs are also laid underground. The Casillon robber frog is endemic to Haiti; however it has now largely disappeared from within its range and was last recorded in 1984. This species is listed as Critically Endangered because of an expected population decline of greater than 80% over the next ten years.
This species is under threat due to severe habitat destruction taking place as a result of clear-cutting, charcoal production and agricultural expansion, which involve slash-and-burn practices. This species is known to occur in the protected Parc National Macaya, but there is no management of this area for conservation. Urgent site-based action is required in the Massif de la Hotte to conserve the remaining habitat in the area, in order to ensure the persistence of this species.
- Order: Anura
- Family: Eleutherodactylidae
- Population: Possibly extinct
- Trend: unknown
This species occurs in the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti. Its altitudinal range is from 950-1,050 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology
This is a fossorial species that inhabits closed forest; males call from shallow underground chambers. The eggs are also laid underground. This species breeds by direct development, meaning that offspring emerge from the eggs as miniature versions of the adults, and a free living larval stage is bypassed (there is no tadpoles phase).