Meet the Four-Eyed Frog

© 2014 Danté Fenolio /
Pleurodema thaul © 2014 Danté Fenolio /

“You’ve got something on your butt. . .my eyes!”

WORST PICK UP LINE EVER, but amazing group of frogs.

The genus Pleurodema contains 15 species and is within the family Leptodactylidae and subfamily Leiuperinae. These so-called four-eyed frogs live in South America and possess a pair of inguinal poison glands that resemble eyes.

What is the purpose of having poison “eyes” on your bum? First of all, why not? I would do it if I could. Seriously…..

© 2014 Danté Fenolio /
Pleurodema thaul © 2014 Danté Fenolio /

More importantly, we look to the behavior to answer this question. When the animal is threatened it raises its rear (which then appears like the head with eyes and whatnot!) and if the predator attacks it will get a taste of some poison. The damage from the attack will be mitigated and as we all know it is easier to deal with a bite to your hindquarters than the face.
Check out these frogs calling below:

“Meet the…” is a collaboration between The Finch & Pea and Nature Afield to bring Nature’s amazing creatures into your home.

Author: Heidi Kay Smith

Biology PhD student on the cusp of finishing and moving on to a postdoc in the behavioral ecology of amphibians. I blog to share my thoughts, ideas, and general feelings of awe of the natural world.

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