Thursday, February 3, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
HOLGER HOLLEMANN /AFP/Getty Images
This fine heavy weight toad champ is Agathe and he sits on a toy scale during an inventory at the zoo in Hanover, central Germany. All habitants of the zoo are to be counted, weighed and measured during the week-long inventory. Agathe weighed 1850 grams.
Monday, January 10, 2011
"Vampire Flying Frog" Found; Tadpoles Have Black Fangs
The mountain jungles of Vietnam are home to a new breed of "vampire"—a "flying" tree frog dubbed Rhacophorus vampyrus.
First found in 2008, the 2-inch-long (5-centimeter-long) amphibian is known to live only in southern Vietnamese cloud forests, where it uses webbed fingers and toes to glide from tree to tree.
Adults deposit their eggs in water pools in tree trunks, which protects their offspring from predators lurking in rivers and ponds.
"It has absolutely no reason to ever go down on the ground," said study leader Jodi Rowley, an amphibian biologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney.
However, that trick isn't what earned the species its bloodsucking name. Rather, it's the strange curved "fangs" displayed by its tadpoles, which the scientists discovered in 2010.
"When I first saw them by looking through a microscope, I said, 'Oh my God, wow,'" said Rowley, whose research is funded in part by the National Geographic Society's Conservation Trust. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)
Frog Fangs Still a Mystery
Tadpoles normally have mouthparts similar to a beak. Instead, vampire tree frog tadpoles have a pair of hard black hooks sticking out from the undersides of their mouths—the first time such fangs have been seen in a frog tadpole. (See more frog pictures.)
The scientists do not yet know what purpose the fangs serve. However, frogs that raise tadpoles in tree-trunk water holes often feed their young by laying unfertilized eggs as meals. The fangs, Rowley speculated, could help in slicing these open.
Shown here: The microscopic view of the "fangs" the tadpoles posses.
Newslink: National Geographic
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
A search for frogs believed to be extinct has instead led scientists to discover some new ones.
Three species hitherto unknown to science have been found in Colombia.
They include a poison-secreting rocket frog and two toads. All three are tiny and tend to be most active in daytime, which is unusual for amphibians.
However, the same expedition to Colombia failed to find the species it was hoping to rediscover, the Mesopotamia beaked toad.
The disappointment provoked by that non-discovery turned to glee when the conservation scientists came across the three new species.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Freezing to Un-Death
The idea that people could freeze themselves, hoping to stave off death and instead thaw sometime in the future, is at this point an element left to science fiction. While some people have tried to freeze themselves (most notably, this list includes baseball great Ted Williams, and that reportedly went badly) so far, no one has thawed successfully.
The wood frog, pictured right, has found better luck.
Instead of migrating to warmer places or creating a warm place in which to hibernate locally, wood frogs just kind of blend in and let the outside environment take over. When their surroundings freeze, so do the frogs. When the frost thaws, so, again, do the frogs. And wood frogs survive the process.
Posted by AllAboutFrogs.org at 7:51 PM