Catching rockets

One of the two rocket frogs (Silverstoneia flotator) that I managed to catch.

One of the two rocket frogs (Silverstoneia flotator) that I managed to catch.

Two days ago, I got up bright and early to go help catch some diurnal frogs near where I am staying in Gamboa, Panama. These diurnal frogs are commonly known as “rocket frogs” because they jump very far and are quite tricky to catch. Silverstoneia flotator is a tiny little rocket frog that calls from the rainforests near the streambed. They are in the family Dendrobatidae, like the poison dart frogs, but are nontoxic and do not exhibit aposematic coloration.

After getting on site by the streambed, I and the other members of our team, attempted to capture as many Sflotator as we could in order to reach the desired sample size for the study. Unfortunately, I only managed to catch two of them. My excuse is that I was terribly distracted by the other wildlife, such as the fer-de-lance viper (known locally as “equis”) that we came upon. It’s always exciting to come across a venomous snake while exploring the rainforest. Keeps you on your toes – literally! But you will be happy to know that we reached our frog quota and successfully swabbed and weighed the little guys before releasing them back into the wild. Hopefully their couple minutes of discomfort will help save hundreds of froggy lives.


The fer-de-lance viper (Bothrops asper) also goes by “equis” or “terciopelo” in Panama. We stumbled across this one while collecting rocket frogs for a field study.

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