Name: Paradoxical Frog (AKA
Webbed front and back feet,
powerful legs for kicking, triangular-shaped
Status: Least Concern
For the most part, paradoxical frogs are not that unusual for tropical frogs. The adults are about average-size for tropical frogs, inhabiting wetland areas and feeding on smaller aquatic animals. They become the most active during the mating season, when males will attract females by croaking loudly. After mating, females will lay average-sized eggs in a floating foam nest. The eggs will hatch and paradoxical tadpoles will be born. These tadpoles, however, experience a dramatic growth spurt, reaching sizes of ten or eleven inches. As metamorphasis sets in, the tadpoles absorb parts of their body, namely their large tail, and shrink into frogs about two inches long. When scientists first observed these tadpoles and frogs in the wild, they thought that the frogs were the offspring and the tadpoles were the adults! This is an excellent reminder that nature does not always live in a set pattern. Life is dynamic; living and growing in a myriad of different ways.
Paradoxical frogs also have another interesting trait. They contain a chemical compound in their skin called pseudin-2. This compound is thought to provide an antimicrobial defense for the frog. In 2008, it was discovered that a synthetic version of this compound stimulates the production of insulin in pancreatic cells. This means that pseudin-2 may be useful in treating people with type-2 diabetes! This is one reason why natural conservation is so important; not only is nature unique and diverse, but it also can hold the keys to solving many of our medical issues.
The paradoxical frog is a common resident of South America and is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, there are concerns that habitat destruction due to agriculture and human settlement could threaten this species. There is also the possible threat of chytridiomycosis, a terrible disease that has decimated frog populations across the planet. The paradoxical frog may be in a good place at the moment, but it is important to be aware of threats and risks so this unique species can continue to be paradoxical.
To learn more about how to
protect frogs and other amphibians, check out these awesome organizations:
A joint effort of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA),
the IUCN SCC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, and the IUCN SCC
Amphibiah Specialist Group. This organization is dedicated to protect
all amphibians, especially focusing on species that currently cannot
be protected in their natural environments.
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