Unique Frog Breeding

A newly described amphibian species engages in internal fertilizations and gives birth to tadpoles.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Jan 5, 2015

The holotype of Limnonectes larvaepartusIMAGE: ISKANDAR ET AL., 2014, PLOS ONEMost frog and toad species reproduce via external fertilization: males bathe extruded eggs with sperm as they grip females’ bodies to encourage them to mate. A few species employ internal fertilization. Some of these amphibious innovators give birth to fully formed froglets. Now scientists have discovered a new frog species that fertilizes eggs internally, with females birthing tadpoles that will later metamorphose into frogs. Announcing their findings in PLOS ONE last week (December 31), researchers working on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi described the unique reproductive strategy of a new fanged frog species, Limnonectes larvaepartus.

The researchers who described the new frog species also observed live tadpoles in the oviducts of females while preparing specimens for study, and on one occasion, they saw a gravid female extrude tadpoles in-hand when she was captured. “In total, we...

(Hat tip: National Geographic’s Laelaps)

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