Seahorses are well-known for their unconventional approach to breeding. Famously, the males are the ones that become pregnant, carrying the fertilised eggs in a brood pouch on their bellies until the fully developed young are ready to be born. This level of paternal responsibility is extremely rare in the animal kingdom. In fact, other than seahorses and their close relatives, the only vertebrate species in which the male effectively becomes pregnant is a tiny amphibian from South America called Darwin’s frog.
Welcome back to The Nature Nook for our first post of 2021! We hope everyone has had a great Christmas and New Year and is ready to delve into our next Freaky Frog article! So far in this series, we’ve looked at a frog the size of a baked bean, a frog whose unsightly folds of wrinkled skin has earned it the name ‘scrotum frog’, a frog that can protrude its own bones from its toepads, and a frog that freezes solid and defrosts with the changing of the seasons. All very strange adaptations, I’m sure you’ll agree.
With Christmas just a week away, we decided that for our final Freaky Frog article of the year, we would take a look at a frog that is certainly no stranger to the cold. Amphibians require heat from their surrounding environment to warm up, but, thanks to their thin, permeable skin, they risk fatally drying out if exposed to intense sunlight. Therefore, they are often found in warm but humid places such as the tropics.
Welcome to another fortnightly edition of Freaky Frog Friday! This time, we’ll be taking a brief look at the hairy frog from central and western Africa. As you can see from the taxidermied museum specimen above, this frog is named after the thick, shaggy ‘fur’ that grows across the flanks and thighs of the males during the breeding season.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a brief introduction to the world of freaky frogs. But back then, we barely scratched the surface. Today, we’re well and truly diving into the deep end – of Lake Titicaca to be precise. Covering 8,372 square km, straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, this is the largest lake in South America.