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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.52 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Mar. 1954 

Anfíbios Anuros do Distrito Federal

Bertha Lutz


The frogs of the Federal District of Brazil are listed and discussed as to habit, biology and ecology. The F. D is situated 22° 54' 24" S. & 43° 10' 21" W Gr. and comprises 1.356 km². Its topography includes sea-shore, maritime scrub, lagoons, plains and marsh, open slopes, forested mountains and great heads of rock. Three thousand feet of altitude are attained at two points. Fifty two different frogs occur in the F.D. Three fifths of them live in open country. Two fifths of these have never been found above the plains; the others range higher but mostly in open country. Their environment offers conditions suitable for average tadpoles and adults. these frogs are more or less unspecialized. There are six genera and thirty species. Two thirds of the latter belong to the type genera of the large neotropical families Bufonidae, Leptodactylidae and Hylidae. Only in the maritime scrub formation are conditions somewhat different. Water for average tadpoles is provided by the lagoons. The xerophytism of the vegetation is, however, so marked that bromeliads growing on the ground provide almost the only appropriate shelter for adult tree-frogs used to sleeping upright on the vegetation. One large Hylid genus lives entirely in them. It is casque-headed and phragmotic, shutting the lumen of the leaf-cup with head used as a plug. Another large Hylid genus shows a lesser degree of the same specialization. (Lutz A & Lutz B, 1939 II). One genus with two species is entirely saxicolous; it lives on wet ledges of rock at all phases of its life history. (B. Lutz 1948). The other two fifths of the frogs from F. D. are montane forest forms. Their environment offers numerous and varied biotopes and is near optimum for adults. There is,however, hardly any standing water available for larvae. These frogs are ecologically diversified. They also show a general trend towards spawning in the adult biotipe, which leads to delayed hatching, semi-aquatic and terrestrial larvae and direct development. (B Lutz, 1948). The author interprets the morphological specialization of the casque-headed Hylids and the biological specialization of the montane forest forms as adaptive. Casque-headedness and phragmosis increase protection against blood-suckers and predators. The humidity of the rain forest permits eggs, embryos and larvae to develop, unharmed, outside their usual, aquatic, environment.


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