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Tag Archives: Frogs in the news

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Frog Communication – Study Shows Frogs go far Beyond Croaking

Rana adenopleuraA recent study has challenged what we know, or thought we knew, about frog communication.  Researchers were astonished to discover that the calls of male Emei Music Frogs, (Babina daunchina) inform females of such details as the length and width of the singer’s burrow.

Construction Skills Needed

Named for the males’ banjo-like calls (they really do sound like banjos, please check video below), the Emei Music Frog is native to marshy habitats in central and southwestern China.  Females deposit their eggs in burrows constructed by the males, and the tadpoles develop there as well.  The ability to construct a safe burrow is, therefore, an important consideration when females go “mate shopping”.  You can see photos of the unique nests and egg masses of a related species, Japan’s Ryuku Brown Frog, here. Read More »

Frog News – Land-Dwelling Tadpole Lives in Trees and Feeds on Wood

Indirana semipalmataFrogs are well-known for their amazing survival strategies.  From behemoths that swallow entire clutches of cobras (please see article below) to tadpoles that develop within their parents’ vocal sacs, frog facts are truly stranger than fiction.  Recently, it was discovered that the tadpoles of India’s Brown Leaping Frog, Indirana semipalmata, are unique in both habitat choice and diet (please see photos of this frog and its tadpole).

A Unique Tadpole Habitat

Biologists at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station inKarnataka,Indiawere amazed to discover several clutches of Brown Leaping Frog eggs adhering to tree bark. While other frogs are known to lay eggs on land, in such cases the tadpoles are carried by rain or their parents to water to complete their development; Smoky Jungle Frog and certain other tadpoles develop within a moisture-retaining nest. Read More »

2010’s Amphibian Discoveries – New Species and New Information – Part 1

 Heterixalus alboguttatusIn the wake of continuing amphibian extinctions, herpetologists made a special effort to study frogs and salamanders in 2010.  Their hard work resulted in the discovery of new species and others believed extinct, and in many surprising new findings about how they live.

Please note: the species described below are barely studied; the photos shown here are of close relatives.  Please see article below for actual photos.

“Back From Extinction”

Biologists participating in a program launched by Conservation International and the IUCN combed the globe in hopes of finding amphibians that have already been “written off” as gone forever.  Herp enthusiasts were pleased to learn that at least 3 of these, while very rare, do indeed continue to hold on. Read More »

A Bird-Eating Frog is Discovered in Thailand – Research Update

In 1705, a painting of a Pink-toed Tarantula consuming a hummingbird, published in Maria S. Merian’s book on the insects of Suriname, aroused so much attention (and horror!) that all New World tarantulas are commonly termed “bird-eating spiders” to this day.  It seems now that amphibian fanciers have their own dramatic bird-eater – Limnonectes megastomias, an aquatic frog recently described from 3 locations in Thailand.

An Aquatic Ambush Predator

Limnonectes kuhliiThe newly discovered frog is largely aquatic, and apparently catches birds that come to the water’s edge to drink – quite a unique feeding strategy for a frog (I once saw a surprising film of African Side-necked Turtles catching doves in this manner).

It is assisted in hunting by large (to 2 inch) “fangs” and a head that is disproportionately large for the body.  The fangs are not true teeth but rather extensions of the jawbone, known as odontoid processes.  The African Bullfrog and the South American Horned Frogs, known also for consuming vertebrates (and biting the hand that feeds them!), also sport odontoid processes.  Insects and other frogs have also been recorded as prey.

Same Bodies, Larger Heads – Sexual Dimorphism

Interestingly, the heads and “teeth” of male Bird-eating Frogs grow much larger than those of females, despite similar body sizes.  In certain other creatures (i.e. Barbour’s Map Turtles) this strategy allows the sexes to consume different diets and, it is theorized, avoid competition.  Researchers also believe that the enlarged teeth are used in combat, as many males carry scars.

So Much to Discover

There are over 50 species classified in the genus Limnonectes- the new “bird-eater” appears most closely related to the Kuhl’s or Large-Headed Frog, L. Kuhlii, but little is known of its natural history (the photo attached is of a Kuhl’s frog).

This new species was first observed at the Sakaerat Environmental Research Station, an area that has been extensively studied for 40 years.  The fact that such a large and unique frog was able to remain undiscovered in this area illustrates the untold opportunities open to those who wish to get out and look around in just about any habitat – recently a new centipede was discovered in NYC’s Central Park!

Further Reading

Another toothed amphibian behemoth, the African Bullfrog, also takes quite large prey…to read about a most unusual frog meal, please see my article An Appetite for Cobras.


Limnonectes kuhlii image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by W. Djatmiko

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