Flying tree frogs are found in both the New and Old World, and have developed the capability to glide through parallel evolution. Their life in trees, over thousands of years, led them to evolve specialized larger webbed hands and feet, along with flaps on their arms and legs, that allowed them to glide between branches.
Gliding is different from powered flight, such as that seen in birds, bats, insects and prehistoric pterosaurs, in that it does not involve muscle power to generate the force that keeps the animal flying. Instead, a gliding animal starts out from a high position and leaps into the air, where it then “falls” at an angle of less than 45 degrees, using modified membranes to keep it airborne and slow the rate of descent. This can only be done over short distances, as opposed to powered flight which can be sustained for much longer and further.
Flying tree frogs are a group of tree frog that has developed the ability to glide between trees in the tropical forests of Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. There are over 3000 species of frog that have evolved this ability, found in two families: Hylidae and Rhacophoridae.
Scientific Name: Genus Rhacophorus, Ecnomiohyla & Polypedates
Characteristics: The ability to glide actually developed independently among the tree frog genera that share this feature. This particular hand-painted flying tree frog figure is posed in mid glide, as if sailing from one tree to another. It’s packed with accurate detail from its webbed hands and feet to its bumpy underside.
Size and Color: This frog figurine measures about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide, making it about the size of a standard pair of scissors. Flying tree frogs are highly variable in coloration, but this figure features the bright green above and yellow below colors seen on many of the species, with black accents in the webbing and golden eyes.
- The Flying Tree Frog is part of the Incredible Creatures® collection.
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