The Critically Endangered Paulson’s robber frog is endemic to Haiti, where it is restricted to the Tiburon Peninsula.
Paulson’s 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!
This species was once common in the 1960s, but it has only been encountered at two localities during many surveys conducted over the last two decades. Paulson’s robber frog was last seen in 1991, although there have been no subsequent surveys to look for this species. This species is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List because of an expected population decline of greater than 80% over the next ten years, predicted from severe degradation of the species’ habitat on the Tiburon Peninsula, Haiti.
Habitat destruction has been severe throughout the Tiburon Peninsula, mainly as a result of logging for charcoal collection by local people and small holders. Moreover, the expansion of agriculture with slash-and-burn practices has been devastating to the habitat. This species occurs in the Parc National Macaya, but there is no management of this area for conservation and the habitat continues to be lost. Improved management of the existing protecting areas alongside the maintenance of remaining habitat within the species range is urgently required.
- Order: Anura
- Family: Eleutherodactylidae
- Population: Previously Common
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 25.4mm
This species is restricted to the Tiburon Peninsula, Haiti, where it ranges from sea level to 750 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology
This is a terrestrial species, typically found in association with caves or creek beds, in closed forests. Eggs are laid on the ground and it 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