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Species of the Day – Mountain Chicken (Leptodactylus fallax)

December 27, 2012

mcMountain chicken is one of the world’s most threatened frogs, the it is oddly-named because its meat is said to taste like chicken. This curious species is also one of the largest frogs in the world, with adult females growing up to remarkable lengths of 21 centimetres.

Mountain chicken has a highly unusual method of reproduction, as unlike most other amphibians which breed in water, this frog breeds in underground burrows around 50 centimetres deep foam nests where both females and males guard the nest. This species reaches maturity at around 3 years, and has a lifespan of approximately 12 years. Mature females only produce one brood per season.

Mountain Chicken occurs mostly on the western side of Dominica and in the Centre Hills of northern Montserrat, where it lives in dense secondary vegetation, plantations, ravines, and flooded forest. It is terrestrial and nocturnal, hiding in burrows during the day in moist forest.

Mountain Chicken is listed as Critically Endangered because of the drastic population declines caused by human consumption for is prized meat, Predation by invasive species and toxic pollution poisoning the ecosystem. Substantial habitat loss is also taking place over much of its range due to agriculture, human settlement and pressure from touristic development. On Montserrat, populations are lost due to lava flows caused by volcanic eruptions, while in the populations in Dominica, have declined catastrophically since 2002 because of an outbreak of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis.

Mountain chicken are not commonly found in protected areas of Dominica are generally above the maximum known elevation of the species and contain few, if any, animals. Captive populations occur in Jersey, St Louis and some other zoos. No hunting of animals on Dominica has been allowed since 2003, and public awareness actions have taken place to inform the Dominican public of the magnitude of threat facing their national dish and to discourage illegal hunting. Conservationist are vigorously trying to save a species that was only recently prized as a national dish by the general public but dedicated conservation measures must be implemented to save the mountain chicken was from extinction.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 10:55 pm

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  1. 10 Caribbean species saved from extinction « wildplanet

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