Wildlife

Guyana Frog Travelogue

27_Oreo.jpg

Last time I posted, I promised stories from my trip to Guyana in July 2007. I was on a quest for some of the country’s exotic (and toxic!) frogs with collaborator Bruce Means, Executive Director of the Coastal Plains Institute and an adjunct professor at Florida State University.

Tropical rainforest covers more than 80 percent—80 percent—of the English-speaking country of Guyana, bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname, and South America’s northern coast.

4_GuyanaHighlands-from-plane_CLARK.jpg

From the air, much of the country’s highlands look like this, a dense carpet of lush tropical rain forests.

6_villageGuest-house.jpg

We began our trek from a small guesthouse at the base of the Wokomung Massif. Destination: Up to the summit of Mount Kopinang!

5_Wokomung-from-Kopinang-July-2007.jpg

During the hike up, we encountered colorful fungi on the forest floor, so I lay down on my belly in the mud to take this photograph.

10_pink-mushroom.jpg

We also came across unbelievably red trees with so-called buttress roots, such as this one. This is an undisturbed, primary rain forest.

16_redButtress-tree.jpg

After a long day of hiking and our first night camping, we paused for a drink and a dip in this ice-cold stream.

23_stream-night-one.jpg

Finally, what we had come for: New frog species! The first frog I found on arriving at the summit of Mount Kopinang was this climbing tree toad, genus Oreophyrnella. These frogs have gripping feet with two toes on each side that help them to climb, much like the feet of chameleons. I watched this pregnant female for an hour, until the chilly rain nearly caused me to go hypothermic. It gets chilly a mile high in the sky, even near the equator!

29_Oreo.JPG

She was pregnant, and we could actually see her eggs through the skin of her swollen belly. We also found several teeny specimens of Colesthetus cf. beebei. These frogs are part of the frog family group that includes the poison-dart frogs of the Americas.

32_Colesthetus1.JPG

I’ll share more on my Guyana adventure soon! Meanwhile, if you’ve got questions about frogs or just love them like I do, let BlogWild know in a comment below!

35_Clark-in-tent.jpg

Photographs copyright Valerie C. Clark

After earning her Ph.D. on the "Chemistry of Amphibian Skin Secretions," Dr. Valerie C. Clark founded the conservation organization i.F.r.o.g.s. (Indigenous Forest Research Organization for Global Sustainability) 501(c)(3). i.F.r.o.g.s. engages the public online to explore Earth’s biodiversity and is active on the ground in Madagascar with local people to survey biodiversity and protect and restore rain forests. Her scientific expeditions have been supported by the National Geographic Society since 2007. Her publications are available for free at frogchemistry.com.
  • Salvador

    I was born in Guyana but after 17 years last year was the first time i was there and it was so amazing and i happy you enjoy Guyana.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media