12 posts tagged Amphibians
12 posts tagged Amphibians
Today the Department of Teeny-weeny Wonders would like to welcome some very special froglets who just hatched at Seattle’s wonderful Woodland Park Zoo. These are Solomon Island leaf frogs (Ceratobatrachus guentheri), commonly known as triangle frogs. One of the things that makes them so special is that they’re one of a small number of frog species who undergo direct development, which means form them there’s no tadpole stage. Instead these froglets hatch from their eggs as fully-formed (if incredibly wee) frogs. They can fend for themselves as soon as they hatch, which probably explains the delightfully determined expressions on their faces.
Photos by Woodland Park Zoo keeper Alyssa Borek
Visit io9 to learn more about these remarkable (and outrageously cute) amphibians.
This awesomely spiky amphibian may look like something from a fantasy RPG, but we swear he’s very real - very real and very pointy. This is the Emei moustache toad (Leptobrachium boringii). These dangerously dapper creatures are endemic to the Sichuan, Guizhou and Hunan provinces of China. For one month every year male Emei toads grow an amazing mustache of razor sharp spikes, also known as “nuptual spines”, that they use to fight each other for prime breeding territory. The spines are made of keratin, the same material found in mammal hooves, horns, fingernails and claws, and they mean brutal business.
Some 90 percent of all males end up injured. Victors win the right to mate. Losers shuffle away and seriously consider never growing a mustache again, because maybe it wasn’t a good idea in the first place and they were just curious how it would look, like that one time when I was in high school.
The spines grow straight through the toad’s skin, and although they will at times pop off in combat, they’ll simply sprout once again, only to fall off at the end of the breeding season.
Visit Wired to learn more about the savagely awesome Emei toad and the world’s most dangerous mustache.
While we can’t say for certain that this frog and beetle are friends, we’re still filing it in the Department of Unexpected Interspecies Friendship because it looks as though they’re in the middle of a great and noble quest. Even Nicolas Reusens Boden, the Swedish photographer who took it, entitled his awesome photo The Knight and His Steed.
Nicolas had this to say about his remarkable photo:
"Although controlled, this shot was not prepared at all, I was performing a workshop with the Agalychnis callidryas treefrog from Costa Rica when the frog managed to jump to the branch where this huge titan was sleeping…I had my gear ready so I only had to change a few settings and shoot…the rest is history.”
This photo is one of over 100,000 photos submitted to the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, which is open to students, amateur photographers and professionals alike. Visit the World Photography Organisation website to view more.
[via My Modern Metropolis]
Dean Boshoff, a wildlife enthusiast and photographer living in the South African city of Durban, recorded this amazing video of an indescribably awesome Desert Rain Frog doing its best to look big and sound intimidating.
"I recorded a short clip of the defensive cry of the Desert rain frog - Breviceps macrops while walking along the sand dunes in Port Nolloth, a coastal town in the Northern Cape province, it alerted me to its presence with its fearsome war cry. I knelt down and proceeded to photograph and film this unusual creature’s behaviour.”
While this plump little frog’s mighty battle cry might scare off potential predators, as for us - that is, once we stopped laughing - we just want to pick him up, dust him off, and hug him.
When thinking about cuddly animals, frogs generally aren’t the first creatures that spring to mind. That has officially been changed thanks to macro photographer Nicolas Reusens‘ awesome photo of a snuggling pair of tree frogs relaxing together on a branch in a Costa Rican rainforest.
This is some seriously potent cuteness. Between the serene smile on the face of the left-hand frog, contentedly resting its head on its tucked hands, and the protective right-hand frog, gently resting its hand on its friend’s head, while keeping watch for the both of them, we’re about ready to go hug someone too.
Is that a frog riding a squirrel? Why yes it is! Neatorama contributor John Farrier recently shared some fascinating photos taken at Le Musée des grenouilles, The Frog Museum in Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland. If you’re in the mood for some whimsical amphibian taxidermy (and why wouldn’t you be?), then this is the place for you.
For obvious reasons, this awesome piece that includes a stuffed and bridled squirrel is our favourite. We’ll disregard his nakedness simply because the world didn’t have Squirrel Underpants back in the 1800s.
The frogs were collected and mounted by François Perrier during the mid-19th century:
“François Perrier loved frogs. From 1848 to 1860, he collected and preserved 108 of them engaging in decidedly non-batrachian behavior, such as attending school, marching in formation and riding squirrels.”
Head over to Neatorama to view more scenes of mid-19th century French life satirically depicted using stuffed frogs. It might just be the strangest thing you see today.
It’s amazing how much awesomeness can emanate from such a teeny-tiny frog. This wee critter is a Limosa Harlequin Frog (Atelopus limosus), an endangered species native to Panama that’s being given a fighting chance thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. They are successfully breeding these minuscule amphibians in captivity for the very first time.
The rescue project is raising nine healthy frogs from one mating pair and hundreds of tadpoles from another pair. “These frogs represent the last hope for their species,” said Brian Gratwicke, international coordinator for the project and a research biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, one of six project partners. “This new generation is hugely inspiring to us as we work to conserve and care for this species and others.”
Read more about the efforts to save these little froglings over at ZooBorns.
It’s time for another visit to the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders. These pretty amphibians with perfectly transparent underbellies are called Glass frogs. They live in the cloud forests of South america, are one of the relatively small number of species where the fathers exclusively care for the young, and scientists are still trying to figure out why they evolved to have transparent tummies.
Complete transparency has evolved multiple independent times. This suggests that a translucent underbelly provides some evolutionary advantage. Juan Manuel Guayasamin, an evolutionary biologist who studies glassfrogs extensively as a researcher at Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica’s Center for Research on Biodiversity and Climate Change, explains:
"Most frogs are not transparent because this would expose organs to the deleterious effects of sunlight and heat." But in transparent glassfrogs, key organs like the liver and digestive tract are covered by a thin layer of light-reflecting organelles called iridiphores. These iridescent cellular subunits may provide a layer of protection from heat and sunlight, a feature that Guayasamin says could give glassfrogs the ability to optimize their internal homeostasis by simply moving about, "covering each organ at a time, as opposed to the entire body cavity."
Guayasamin says another hypothesis holds that transparency evolved to help glassfrogs avoid predators (an ability commonly referred to as “crypsis”). ”Most glassfrogs are green and reflect light almost as a leaf. For predators (and amphibiologists), it is quite difficult to find a glassfrog if it is not, for example, calling.”
You can even see their hearts beating inside their bodies. That’s pretty awesome.
"Four mutant frogs with gold skin and red eyes, found by children in a grassy field in the town of Shimanto in Kochi prefecture, have gone on display at the nearby Shimanto River Gakuyukan science center. According to a center spokesperson who says the golden specimens are highly unusual, the 2.4-centimeter (almost 1-inch) amphibians appear to be black-spotted pond frogs (Pelophylax nigromaculata, a.k.a. Rana nigromaculata) whose skin turned gold because of an albino mutation that prevents the formation of pigment cells. With a run of bad luck that has brought shrinking visitor numbers and a recent theft of 1.25 million yen (about $10,000), the center hopes the golden frogs are a sign of good fortune to come. Oddly, they look sort of like feng shui money frogs (Chan Chu), except that money frogs have three legs.”
[via Pink Tentacle]