Common Tink Frog
Diasporus diastema




Common Tink Frog (Diasporus diastema - also known as the Caretta Robber Frog) is one of a group of small Leptodactylid frogs that are common in the lowlands of the Atlantic slope of Central America from southern Honduras into eastern Panama. These frogs were photographed and recorded east of Quesada, Costa Rica.  

This is a small frog (~ 1 inch) of the Central American Rainforest.  They are found from southeastern Honduras along the Atlantic versant of Central America down to the Panama Canal.  They also occur on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.




They are highly variable in pattern.  They can be plain yellowish or mottled with brown to even have a bold central stripe on their back all within the same small geographic area.  There are also other species of closely related species of Diasporus which occur within this range with which they can be easily confused.

This photo is a closely related species, Diasporus hylaeformis (....I think?).  You can see how outwardly similar they are.  The can only be identified by the distribution of tubercles on their hands and the shapes of their toe pads.




The call of the Common Tink Frog (D. diastema) is a metallic "tink".  It is quite a loud call for a little frog and having one call right next to your ear in the forest at night can be uncomfortable!


Tink Frog, Costa Rica 


Common Tink Frogs (D. diastema) are, as their name implies, very common over much of their range.  In Costa Rica, the metallic "tink" calls for which they're named are an almost constant soundtrack to any nighttime exploration of the rainforest.


Tink Frog Chorus, Costa Rica

In spite of their abundance and the almost constant din of their calls, they can be hard to spot.  They tend to call from sitting on top of a leaf in the forest, often directly under another overhanging leaf.  





They will also call from from a vertical position on hanging leaves.  Their loud, piercing "tink" calls can be hard to pin-point and I was only able to find a few of the hundreds I heard calling.

If the males are lucky, their calls will be heard by a nearby female and she will respond.  While I was photographing the previous male, he suddenly turned slightly and began calling with a bit more "enthusiasm".  I zoomed out and saw the reason for his increased motivation.....and approaching female.




He climbed up onto her leaf to meet her halfway, and the two frogs approached each other and met nose to nose.



Although I didn't get a chance to photograph it, she was periodically waving her right hand up off the ground towards him.  Maybe this was her acceptance?  It soon became apparent that my flashlight was disturbing their romantic encounter, so I moved on down the trail, leaving the young lovers to whatever froggy business they had planned. :-)

© Chris Harrison 2014

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