Episode 283 – Izecksohn’s Brazilian Tree Frog: Pollination Army

“…and today we’re talking about a slimy little yellow guy. But more on that later.”

So we know how animals make more animals, but how do plants make more plants? With the help of animals, of course! Whether it’s spreading seeds on the ground or getting animals to eat them, plants have a unique way of passively sowing their wild oats. But the real magic is in pollination. We all know bees are the masters of pollination, but Izechsohn’s Brazilian tree frog might just give them a run for their money. It all gets a little sticky here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.


  • Brazilian tree frogs are brown, bright yellow, or yellow-orange, with lighter underbellies.
  • Young frogs have a white stripe down their sides because a seven-nation army couldn’t hold them back. 
  • They have dark reddish brown eyes. 
  • They are shaped like a typical treefrog, sitting flat against a surface with powerful legs coiled for a leap.
  • Tree frogs maintain constant moisture, which gives them a glossy sheen. 
  • I can confirm that they are kind of cute.

Measure Up

Welcome to the beloved Measure Up segment. The official listener’s favorite part of the show! The part of the show when we present the animal’s size and dimension in relatable terms through a quiz that’s fun for the whole family. It’s also the part of the show that’s introduced by you when you send in audio of yourself saying, singing, or chittering the words Measure Up into ldtaxonomy at gmail dot com. We don’t have a new measure up intro.


  • 3 to 4 cm (1.5 inches)
  • How many tree frogs go into the barrel length of the fabled Colt Buntline Special?
  • Hint: The Colt Buntline was a revolver described by Stuart N. Lake in his largely apocryphal biography of Wyatt Earp. The pistol was said to be a custom version of the Colt single-action army revolver. However, it’s possible that Lake willed the gun into existence because there is no known record of the pistol’s existence before his book was published. 
  • The barrel of the Colt Buntline was said to be 12 inches (300 mm) long.

Genus size

  • There are only two frogs in the genus Xenohyla. The other is Xenohyla eugenioi, native to the northeastern Brazilian Rainforest. 
  • How many xenohyla sizes (2) go into the number of human babies born each day?
  • Hint: Today, there were around 607 born in Florida alone.
  • 192,500 genera. There are 385,000 babies born daily.

Fast Facts

The Brazilian tree frog can be found from the southern border of Espírito Santo down to Ilha da Marambaia. It enjoys tropical moist broadleaf forests, also called restingas.

If you were to turn over one of these broadleaves to find a treefrog, it might put its head down, spread out its limbs, and puff up to frighten you and any other would-be predators off. 

They breed in temporary pools and puddles that form during seasonal rains. 

A fact that could have been major if it weren’t for another more major fact is the fact that they are the only frugivorous frog in the world (that we know about). They eat mostly fruit of tropical plants, but they will also eat seeds, pods, pulp, and flowers. They may supplement with insects when the mood strikes. 

Because they eat particular plants that contain toxic alkaloids, they, too, have toxic skin. If you eat it, you might damage your liver or kidneys.

Major Fact: Pollination Army

  • Most frogs eat mostly insects as their main source of food
  • This frog is one of the only ones in the world to eat exclusively fruit – it’s frugivorous
  • But it doesn’t just eat fruit; it cultivates it
  • The Brazilian tree frog is the only frog on earth that actually pollinates flowers
  • We don’t talk much about plants here on LDT, but you might be surprised to learn that they need to reproduce just like animals.
    • But since they can’t move to get their groove on, they have a much more passive way of knocking boots.
    • A huge part of their reproduction results from seed dispersal and pollination. 
    • Some plants release their seeds into the wind, drop them on the ground, or wrap their seeds in tasty treats we know as fruit so that animals will eat them and poop them out somewhere else.
    • But plants also need to get DNA from one plant to another to preserve genetic diversity
    • Many plants do this by pollination, meaning that they either release pollen into the air or animals that eat their nectar carry pollen to other plants of the same species
  • The Brazilian tree frogs love the fruit of the milk fruit plant, but they also love the nectar of its flowers
  • As they eat the fruit and lap up the nectar, their skin gets covered with pollen grains, which they inadvertently take to other similar flowers, germinating them. 
  • And they eat the seeds in the fruit, pooping them in various places and causing the growth of new plants, so they do both pollination and seed dispersal.

Ending: So pick your favorite fruit, slurp up some tasty nectar, and cover yourself in pollen like Izecksoh’s Brazilian Tree Frog here in LDT.