Frog that gives birth to tadpoles found
Thursday 22 June, 2017

Frog that gives birth to tadpoles found

Published On: Sun, Jan 4th, 2015 | New Species | By BioNews

The female of a new species of frog gives birth to live tadpoles instead of laying eggs, a researcher from University of California-Berkley (UCB) has discovered in the rain forests of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island.

A member of the Asian group of fanged frogs, the new species named Limnonectes larvaepartus was discovered a few decades ago by Indonesian researcher Djoko Iskandar.

It was thought to give direct birth to tadpoles though the frog’s mating and an actual birth had never been observed before.

“Almost all frogs in the world – more than 6,000 species – have external fertilisation, where the male grips the female in amplexus and releases sperm as the eggs are released by the female,” said UCB herpetologist Jim McGuire.

“But there are lots of weird modifications to this standard mode of mating. This new frog is one of only 10 or 12 species that has evolved internal fertilisation, and of those, it is the only one that gives birth to tadpoles as opposed to froglets or laying fertilised eggs,” McGuire explained.

 Collection locality, habitat and live Limnonectes larvaepartus. (A) Collection locality of Limnonectes larvaepartus at Bontula, Nantu Wildlife Sanctuary, Gorontalo Province, Indonesia, (B) habitat of L. larvaepartus at Bontula, and (C) an adult female L. larvaepartus (MZB Amp 23978) in life. Image Credit: PlosOne

Collection locality, habitat and live Limnonectes larvaepartus.
(A) Collection locality of Limnonectes larvaepartus at Bontula, Nantu Wildlife Sanctuary, Gorontalo Province, Indonesia, (B) habitat of L. larvaepartus at Bontula, and (C) an adult female L. larvaepartus (MZB Amp 23978) in life. Image Credit: PlosOne

During his research in Sulawesi Island, McGuire came across dozens of slippery, newborn tadpoles of the new frog species.

This species seems to prefer to give birth to tadpoles in small pools or seeps located away from streams, possibly to avoid the heftier fanged frogs hanging out around the stream. There is some evidence the males may also guard the tadpoles, McGuire added.

The findings appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

Reference:
Kusrini MD, Rowley JJL, Khairunnisa LR, Shea GM, Altig R (2015) The Reproductive Biology and Larvae of the First Tadpole-Bearing Frog, Limnonectes larvaepartus. PLoS ONE 10(1): e116154. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116154

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