FRACTS!: A mother’s day special: Mother Frogs

It is amazing how some frogs care for their young when frogs are generally known as ‘Cannibals’. There are quite a number of species of frogs that have their own ways of ‘parental care’ which is unusual and also interesting depending on how the anatomy of the frog (or toad) is OR just their own instinct. So, let’s learn more about them!

Marsupial Frogs (Gastrotheca)

Why are they named as ‘Marsupial’ Frogs? Well, the answer is obvious. Pouches, just like Kangaroos (eventhough is not really a real pouch for the marsupial frogs). About these amazing creatures in this frog kingdom, with the help of the male frog to gather as much eggs he can to relocate on the back of female frogs which the skin will then absorb the eggs into it to serve as a ‘pouch’ which is also known as the ‘dorsal brood pouch’. This method of ‘parental care’ is good because, usually many species of frogs left the eggs unattended in the wild and are expected to survive on their own since day one of hatching.

Giving you an example, one of the endangered species of the Marsupial Frog, Andean Marsupial Tree Frog. As the eggs are transferred to the back of the female frog and lasts for 5 to 6 weeks. During that point of time is when the eggs are ready to hatch into tadpoles inside the dorsal brood pouch of the mummy frog! Then, they are able to break out from the pouch of the female frog and continue their development from there where the metamorphosis will occur in a few weeks’ time!

Gastric-Brooding frog

Here comes my favourite part, the ‘mouth birthing’ of frogs. These frogs come with two different species Rheobatrachus silus and Rheobatrachus vitellinus, both can only be found in one place, Australia.

This is something that people should really appreciate this nature of animals, however, due to unknown reasons (more likely to be human intervention), both of the frogs with this kind of parental behavioural instinct are EXTINCT! But, the good news is that scientists are trying to ‘de-extinct’ them back to life!

As you can see from the 1st picture above, that is how the frogs care for its young. At first external fertilization will take place by the male, then the female would take the eggs or embryos into her mouth and swallow them. Most female frogs had around 40 ripe eggs, almost double that of the number of juveniles ever found in the stomach (21–26). This means one of two things, that the female fails to swallow all the eggs or the first few eggs to be swallowed are digested. But, the jelly coating of the eggs contains a substance that will help to stop the hydrochloric acid to digest the eggs. – Then when the hatches in to juveniles (or tadpoles), have this special mucus, to help to keep the mother’s stomach into a non-functional state. So, overtime the young developed in its mother’s body, her stomach grew larger and her lungs deflated and relies its skin to get oxygen to live [1].

Lets see how the mother frog sacrifice itself to care for her young and its body had to adapt just to bear her own children!

 

Glad you had enjoyed reading this article and thank you very much! Don’t forget to be kind to one another and love your mum for all the sacrifices she have made just to make you happy, live and grow. – Frosch

 

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My froggy Resources:

[1] : Tyler, M. J. (1994). Chapter 12, “Gastric Brooding Frogs”, pp. 135–140 in Australian Frogs A Natural History. Reed Books

http://news.mongabay.com/2014/03/scientists-uncover-new-species-of-andean-marsupial-frog/

http://animals.mom.me/marsupial-frog-habitat-5588.html

http://ia902700.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?id=biologicalbullet149mari&itemPath=%2F30%2Fitems%2Fbiologicalbullet149mari&server=ia902700.us.archive.org&page=n503_w334

http://www.nhptv.org/wild/pipidae.asp

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/pictures/130316-gastric-brooding-frog-animals-weird-science-extinction-tedx/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastric-brooding_frog

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-03/scientists-resurrect-bonkers-extinct-frog-gives-birth-through-its-mouth

FRACTS! : Flying Frogs?!?!?

Who says frogs can only just jump and swim only? There are quite a number of species of frogs are able to ‘fly’! Actually, they don’t really fly like birds flapping its wings, instead they glide through air or, some say ‘parachute’ to just move from one place to another or run away from harmful predators too.

This ridiculously photogenic creature above, is the Rhacophorus nigropalmatus aka the ‘Wallace’s Flying Frog’ or ‘Abah River flying frog’.

Native to the Malaysian Peninsula and Borneo in the dense part of the jungle, this frog is able to glide with the help by spreading its webbed feet on its fore legs and hind legs on air. So, when threatened, it spreads its webbed feet and catch as much air resistance as it can to help them glide over around 15 meters or more to another neighbouring tree branch or all the way to the ground. They also has oversized toe pads that help them to land without getting them to hurt and stick to tree trunks too. Talk about how amazing creature they can be!

Here is a video of the Wallace’s Flying Frog!

 

Resource:

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/wallaces-flying-frog/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace%27s_flying_frog

By Poorichote Chotipan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (featured picture)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYj4RP_WfJE

FRACTS #12

Hi everyone Frog boy here!

As we all know that frogs are friendly and kind creatures especially in our farm. =) But there’s a new species of frog found at the Peruvian Cloud Forest! It is said to have spines on its head and it is poisonous which would cause extreme pain!

The poison is more deadly than the secretions of a pit viper, and one of the discoverers, Carlos Jared of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo found out the hard way. While collecting C. greeningi he got a spine in his hand: intense, radiating pain followed for the next five hours. It is one of the most venomous frogs!

2161

Click the link to find out more:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/06/ribbiting-news-frogs-poison-spines-revealed-and-new-species-discovered

FRACTS #11 – Unique frogs around the world!

Did you know that there are many unique frogs around the world? Let’s take a look at some of them.

The first unique frog is the Goliath Frog. It is known as the largest frog in the world, with the biggest specimen being up to 32cm from snout to vent and weighing up to 3.25kg! Long time ago this frogs were thriving in middle African countries, but over the years of being hunted for food or to be sold to zoos or animal dealers they have been classified to being endangered species.
(Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_frog)

Goliath Frog
(Picture from Google Images)

The second unique frog is the Paedophryne amanuensis, it’s known to be both the smallest frog and vertebrate in the world. They can be as small as 7.7mm in length! These frogs are also difficult to find as they are not just small, they are also camouflaged on the leave piles on the ground and their calls are almost similar to insects as well. They were only found after scientists decided to grab a handful of leave litter and place it in a clear plastic bag. After awhile they noticed tiny frogs leaping about, thus making the discovery. They may be the tiniest frogs in the world but they are still able to jump very high, up to 30 times their own length!
(Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paedophryne_amauensis)

Paedophryne amauensis
(Picture from Google Images)

The third unique frog is the Coqui frog. Now this frogs are rather small, reaching only up to 88mm in length. But what makes them unique is the volume of their calls. Just standing 3 feet away from a Coqui and it’s call can be as loud as 100 decibels, that is as loud as a jackhammer or chainsaw! Also their calls can mean two things, the “Co” part of their call means a warning for males that may try to invade their territory and the “Qui” part is for attracting females for mating purposes. Now that’s multitasking!
(Citation: http://www.wild-facts.com/2012/wild-fact-252-the-loudest-frog-in-the-world-coqui/)

Coqui
(Picture from Google Images)

Stay tuned for more fun facts on unique frogs!

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FRACTS #10 – Are frogs poisonous?

Did you know about the Poison Dart Frogs?

These frogs are dangerous as their skin glands contains the deadly toxins. Not all Poison Dart Frogs are deadly, some are just less toxic where they can paralyze their attackers or predators. The more poisonous species will be like the Golden Poison Frog. The Golden Poison Frog is so poisonous that just one milligram of its poison is strong enough to kill 10,000 mice!
(Citation 1 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_dart_frog)

Poison Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frogs’ poison are Batrachotoxin, which are basically neurotoxins. So once the poison is ingested by the predator it will directly affect the nervous system of the victim. Once the nervous system is down the body won’t be able to function properly, causing death. Other animals also have neurotoxins as a defense or even a weapon. This includes animals like snakes, spiders and scorpions.

Do you know the differences between Poison and Venom? Venom is when the toxin is being injected directly to the body, like stings or fang bites. Poison is different as it’s only classified as that when the toxin is ingested.

It’s arguable that Poison Dart Frogs do not create their own toxins and rather that they feed on insects that consume poisonous plants around them, this allows the frog to accumulate the toxins within it with each insect it eats.
(Citation 2 : http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Amazonia/Facts/fact-poisondartfrog.cfm)

The reason they are called poison dart frogs is that natives in the jungle discovered that these frogs are poisonous. So they decided to secrete the poison from the frog to apply on the tips of their weapons like arrows, hence the name Poison Dart Frog.

But just being poisonous is not enough to stop predators to try feeding on them. So these frogs have evolved to have brightly colored skin to detain predators from preying on them. Bright colors in the animal world is a way of saying “Hey back off, I’m poisonous. Eat me if you dare!”

Many animals in the world has also developed this tactic to prevent predators from eating them. Other animals like Monarch Butterflies and Coral Snakes also have brightly colored skin or patterns to fend off would-be predators.

Here’s another fun fact, did you know that the cute Platypus found in Australia has it’s own venom?

platypus

It does! The venom is located in the spur (like a small spike) which is on the hind limbs of the platypus which only the males have. This venom is rather unique. The venom doesn’t kill, but instead causes swelling and excruciating pain for weeks or even months! Victims claimed that the pain is so bad that it’s even worse than being shot by a gun! Also there’s no antidote for it, not even morphine is able to soothe the pain. So in short, never handle a platypus carelessly or you might just end up suffering from the venom for weeks!
(Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus_venom)

 

 

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FRACTS #9 – Frogs = Toads?? No!

Frogs cannot be called toads, BUT toads can be called frogs! Did you know that?? This is because the word ‘frog’ is a generic term for the whole family, and a ‘toad’ is classified under the frog family. There are actually many differences between a frog and a toad! Look at the picture comparison of a toad and a baby frog below, and see how many differences you can spot!

Top: Frog Bottom: Toad See the difference between them? Look at their hind legs and skin texture.
Top: Baby frog
Bottom: Toad
See the difference between them? Look at their hind legs and skin texture.

These are the differences between a toad and a frog! Did you manage to spot all their physical differences?
Frogs

  • Have wet, smooth skin that looks slimy because of the moist environment that it lives in; it doesn’t need to face harsh land conditions.
  • Need to live near/in water for survival
  • Have a narrow body which allows for faster movement, and eyes that bulge
  • Have long webbed hind legs for swimming and high jumping
  • Lay eggs in cluster

Toads

  • Have dry, rough and warty skin because of harsh conditions on land
  • Don’t have to live near water to survive
  • Have a wide and fat body
  • Have short, stout unwebbed hind legs because they walk instead of jumping and have no need to swim since they live on land.
  • Lay eggs in strings

Frogs that are really frogs are also known as “true frogs”, and likewise, toads that are really toads are also known as “true toads”.

Hope I have enlightened all of you a little about the differences between true frogs and true toads!

Signing off,
Froglette

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Reference

http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/are-frogs-and-toads-the-same/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/True_toad

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/True_frog

FRACTS #8 – Frogs inspired the creation of batteries!!

Did you know that frogs were involved in the creation of the battery?

It all started with a frog. And a scientist. And a wonderful coincidence.

Luigi Galvani, an Italian scientist of the 1700s discovered that electricity applied to the nerves of frog legs caused the large muscles to twitch. Galvani then named the perpetrator of this effect animal electricity- a fractured allusion to the “life force” that was thought to be the essence of life on earth.

Its discovery began as Galvani was working to understand static electricity through the rubbing of frog skins
together. As he slowly skinned the frog with his steel scalpel, it touched the brass hook he was using to hold the frog’s leg in and picked up a charge which caused the frog’s leg to twitch, hence presenting an indication of the presence of electricity.

Further experiments by Italian physicist Volta showed that the frog’s leg was merely an indicator of the presence of electricity and that the electricity that caused the twitch was actually sparked by the dissimilarity of the two metals.

Nevertheless, without frog protagonist in this wonderful story of accidental discovery, scientists such as Gassner (1887) and Sir Thomas Edison (1903) and Urry (1950) would not have been able to arrive at their brilliant discoveries. The ubiquitious battery of the modern world would not have been invented and we would not even be able to dream of having mobile phones or cameras.

Think about it!

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https://backyardbrains.com/experiments/img/Exp5_galvani.jpeg
http://www.batteryfacts.co.uk/BatteryHistory/Galvani.html

Fracts # 7- FROGS ARE LIVING DEAD?!?!

Why do we say that frogs are living dead? Taking the American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) as an example, they will hibernate/estivate but they will not spend the winter the way aquatic turtles do, digging into the mud at the bottom of a pond or stream. In fact, hibernating frogs would suffocate if they dug into the mud for long period of time. These hibernacula are not as well protected from frigid weather and may freeze, along with their inhabitants.

But frogs do not die! Because they can Antifreeze! Ice crystals form in such places as the body cavity and bladder and under the skin, but a high concentration of glucose in the frog’s vital organs prevents freezing.

frog in winter

A partially frozen frog will stop breathing, and its heart will stop beating. It will appear quite dead. But when the hibernaculum warms up above freezing, the frog’s frozen portions will thaw, and its heart and lungs resume activity. That is why the frogs are being called living dead.

 

Similarly, frogs also undergo estivation aka Aestivation which is a state of animal dormancy, also when animal is inactive and have a lowered metabolic rate, that is entered in response to high temperatures and arid conditions. For example, the prolonged dry season in certain tropical regions.

 

stay tuned for Fracts #8!
FROGIRL signing off ~

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Sources:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-frogs-survive-wint/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aestivation

FRACTS #6 – touching a toad gives you warts ?

Touch a toad you’ll get warts, right? Wrong!

Most toads look as if they have warts, buy they don’t give them. Touch a toad and you’ll find a friend, right? Maybe! Toads can become very tame.

Touch a toad if you can but touch it gently. If a toad becomes frightened, glands in its skin may ooze a milky juice which is poisonous to most animals if they swallow it. This poison saves toads from enemies as they cannot hop away as fast as their frog cousins can.

Some enemies don’t seem to be bothered by a toad’s poison, so they have other tricks to try.

For example, a toad can puff up until it’s too big to swallow.

Hiding is another toad trick. It blends in with its surroundings and can even change colour.

Many toads burrow in soft dirt when danger threatens, digging backward with their hind legs.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4i3AB320zk]

Toads may also protect themselves by playing dead.

Here is a cute video showing how tame a toad can be and playing dead.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDyRAykxw_E]

 

Disclaimer: All pictures copyright to their respective owner(s). jurongfrogfarm.com.sg does not claim ownership of any of the pictures displayed on this site unless stated otherwise. jurongfrogfarm.com.sg does not knowingly intend or attempt to offend or violate any copyright or intellectual property rights of any entity. Some images used on jurongfrogfarm.com.sg are taken from the web and believed to be in the public domain. The pictures are provided for educational purposes only.

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Reference:
http://www.norcrossws.org/html/frogsandtoads.htm

http://www.welcomewildlife.com/?folder=pages/urban%20wildlife/amphibians

Fracts #5 – Do all frogs lay their eggs in water ?

Most amphibians lay their eggs in fresh water or on land, but others are viviparous, meaning the babies grow within the mother’s body and are born live.

Frogs are among the most prolific breeders and can lay anywhere from 1 egg to 25,000, while salamanders lay a few dozen. Some frogs and salamanders defend their eggs and may carry eggs or tadpoles on their backs. For species which practice internal fertilization, females guard the eggs. For eggs that are externally fertilized, males guard and defend the eggs within their territory. In fact, paternal care is most common in fish and amphibians and not mammals!

Main reasons why frogs lay eggs in water

  • Moisture: Frog eggs require moisture or they will dry up and die. Frogs lay their eggs coated in a jelly-like glycoprotein. The jelly helps keep the eggs from drying out, but must maintain contact with a moisture source. Frogs can lay their eggs on pond vegetation, floating on the water’s surface, or on the pond bottom. Many frogs lay their eggs in vernal pools, which are large, temporary puddles formed by spring rains.
  • Tadpoles: Adult frogs can survive on land and in water, but tadpoles can survive in water only. They have gills for underwater breathing and tails for swimming. If tadpoles hatched on land, they would not be able to breath or move around.
  • Protection: Bird eggs have hard shells that protect the embryos from trauma. Because frog eggs are soft and moist, they require cushioning to protect the developing tadpoles. Water provides this cushioning.
  • Guarding: A few frog species, such as Darwin’s Frog, watch over their eggs and guard them from predators. Darwin’s Frog is primarily aquatic and would not be able to guard eggs laid on land away from the water.

Case study: Darwin’s Frog

Darwin’s frogs have a rather odd and unique way of protecting their young from predators

Male Darwin’s frogs engage in a behavior called mouth-brooding, where they take their own fertilized eggs into their mouth just before they hatch.  They’re not eating them.  Instead they store them in the vocal sacs that they otherwise use to make mating calls to attract females.  There the tadpoles hatch and develop in complete safety from fish, dragonfly larvae and all the other aquatic predators that normally threaten them (unless of course daddy gets eaten himself), surviving on the nutrients of the yolk that their mother’s egg provided them.

When the tadpoles fully complete metamorphosis inside their father’s vocal sac, he opens his mouth and “barfs” them out into the world, miniature versions of himself ready to fend for themselves.

Watch this video to see the tadpoles writhing underneath the skin of these daddy frogs just before they reach full development and he barfs them out to begin life on their own.  You can’t help but watch this and be fascinated at how odd and wonderful the natural world is!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HCxv6AbBwJI]

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Glossary
Viviparous
an animal that gives birth to live young. Contrast with Oviparous and Ovoviviparous
Metamorphosis a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal’s body structure through cell growth and differentiation

Reference
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910142632.htm
http://www.worldanimalfoundation.net/f/TreeFrog.pdf
http://animals.pawnation.com/main-reason-frogs-lay-eggs-water-4238.html
http://blogs.discovery.com/animal_oddities/2011/08/frog-daddy-barfs-out-babies.html