The Frogject


Marcos Carello

Conservation Fellow

Conservacionista emergente, apasionado por la herpetología y trabajando día a día en la conservación del Amazonas, en la región Madre de Dios, Perú.

Learn more about Marcos Carello

October 6, 2021

The Frogject


I arrived once again in Madre de Dios on the 23rd of November, 2020. This was the first time I would spend a significant amount of time in the rainforest during the wet season. In this southwestern region of the Amazon there are two pronounced seasons: dry between the months of April and November and wet starting around December and finalizing close to April. Wet season means abundance of resources, rivers grow, the rainforest floods, forests flourish and wildlife thrives.

Going on night walks in search of herpetofauna is my favourite activity in the rainforest, so I took every opportunity to go out and explore. However, this time it was different because there was something else. The vast majority of anuran species take advantage of this season for reproduction. In the Amazon rainforest, the wet season means breeding season for the vast majority of anuran species. Fascinated by this phenomenon, I spent hours every night in search of “breeding ponds”, ephemeral ponds created by seasonal rains and used by frogs and toads as the perfect reproduction site while I spent the day reviewing the available relevant literature.

Phyllomedusa tomopterna couple (male over female) in amplexus position before egg fertilization.

I came to realise that information and literature related to the ecology of anurans is lacking in this region. Without collecting baseline data on the ecology and behaviour of species we will fail to design and implement effective conservation strategies. Additionally, basic ecological information would contribute to the efficacy of future project design.

Edalorhina perezi couple (male over female) in amplexus position next to a foam nest.

Consequently, I found myself designing a long term research project to study the ecology of anurans in the region of Las Piedras with the advice and support of Dylan Singer (herpetologist and co-director of Hoja Nueva) and the Hoja Nueva team. Our research focuses on three main areas of study: habitat use and selection, reproductive ecology, and predator-prey interactions.

Analysing sites for suitability for future studies.

Creating this project meant making the decision to live full time in the field, far away from home, and my friends and family. Even still, I am happy to tell you that I am pleased with my decision and grateful for the support of my team and ACEER for making this possible. The Frogject (frog-project) is working as planned, the team is carrying out nocturnal surveys to collect field data every night and I am looking forward to showing everyone some of our first findings.

Phyllomedusa tomopterna, field data collection.

Without collecting baseline data on the ecology and behaviour of species we will fail to design and implement effective conservation strategies.


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