Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sulawesi Fanged Frogs

Fanged Frog
A few weeks back stories began popping up about new species of Fanged Frogs found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Nine of the thirteen species located there had not been previously known to science. These thirteen species, found within the genus Limnonectes, were able to evolve in amazing ways in order to fill specific niches on the island. This is due to the fact that they face no competition from frog species found in other areas.

But before we get into some of those adaptations, what is the deal with those fangs? Well you see, they aren’t actually teeth at all, but bony protrusions that extend up from the jaw. Because these species have only just been discovered, scientists aren’t completely sure about their purpose. One theory is that they help the frogs to catch fast moving aquatic prey. The rationale for this is that the frogs that have the largest fangs are the ones that feed on fish and tadpoles.
Fanged Frog guarding Jelly-Like Eggs

Interestingly, the some of the fish eating frogs are also incredibly large. Almost double the size of some other species. This may be because they need to swim against strong moving currents.
Large size is only one of the adaptations found in the Sulawesi Fanged Frogs. A different species, which dwells on land, lays thick jelly-like eggs so that their offspring can go through their early life phases without being near water. Foot webbing also varies across the frog species, with those living in watery habitats have larger webs than those who live more on dry land.

It’s pretty awesome when you realize that these thirteen related species all specifically evolved differently to satisfy niches on their little island. And they did it in only 15 million years!

Location : Sulawesi, Indonesia
Size : Varies
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Anura
Family : Dicroglossidae -- Genus : Limnonectes


  1. The head picture almost looks like that of a lizard!

  2. I'm working on this Family. Very glad that i found yr blog. Thank you so much.


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