The biggest and most varied group of amphibians on Earth, frogs are the subject of interesting facts and often asked questions. Amphibians consist mostly of frogs and toads. The number of species in the Anurag order of amphibians is significantly greater than that of the two other orders that are still in existence: Caudate (salamanders) and Gymnophiona (caecilians). A reference page from the American Museum of Natural History in New York called Amphibian Species of the World states that as of August 2022, Anurag was home to 7,486 of the 8,478 known amphibian species.
Toads and frogs are two of the most varied animal species. These animals have many distinctive characteristics, even if their croaking and hopping may have made them most famous. Frogs and toads suffer severely from human-related hazards, just like many other animals do, and many species are in danger of going extinct.
FROGS VS. TOADS
The terms “frog” and “toad” are colloquial terms with no scientific significance. Since “frog” is the common name for the Anura order and appears in the common names of the majority of Anuran species, it might be considered the more inclusive word. The common names of some species or groupings use the word “toad” more sparingly than others.
Common names for amphibians that include “toad” frequently denote traits that are not generally associated with frogs. For instance, the Burke Museum in Seattle states that “toads” often have shorter hindlimbs and drier, bumpier skin than typical frogs. They also typically reside in drier areas. But you could call all toads frogs.
TYPES OF FROG
There are many different sizes, colors, and forms of frogs. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Natural History, the largest frogs are Goliath frogs (Conrail goliath) from Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. These frogs can grow to be more than 1.1 feet (34 centimeters) long and weigh 7.3 pounds (3.3 kilograms). According to a recent Live Science article, goliath frogs seem to exploit their enormous bulk to move pebbles weighing more than 4 pounds (2 kg) to create “nursery ponds” that they maintain and watch over.
A tiny species of frog from Papua New Guinea known as Paedophryne amanuensis is the tiniest known frog in the world. This frog, which grows to an average length of 0.3 inch (7.7 millimeters), is the smallest known vertebrate on Earth, according to a 2012 study described in the journal PLOS One, Live Science previously reported.
Although they are well known for their amazing jumping abilities, not all frogs hop. Phyllo medusa sausage, or waxy monkey tree frogs, travel around branches while holding onto them in a monkey-like manner. According to the World Wildlife Fund, these South American frogs emit a naturally occurring opioid called diamorphine, which is several times stronger than morphine and has been used to make an illicit performance-enhancing medication for racing horses.
Many frogs use camouflage, either to fit in with their surroundings and avoid being noticed by predators or to stay concealed from them. For instance, patches of moss mimic Vietnamese mossy frogs (Theloderma corticale). Poison dart frogs are called the “jewels” because of their vivid colors, which alert predators that they are toxic and should not be eaten. of the rainforest”. However, in a vivid rainforest, even these vivid hues can serve as disguise.
Because of their translucent green skin, glass frogs’ internal organs—including their beating hearts—are visible to the naked eye. In order to allow predators to look right through them, they have evolved. These frogs aren’t really transparent, according to a 2020 study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, but their The concealment is adaptive.
In a statement at the time, lead scientist James Barnett, a behavioral ecologist at McMaster University in Ontario, stated that while the frogs are always green, they appear to brighten or darken depending on the background. “The frogs are more in line with their immediate surroundings, which are primarily composed of green leaves, thanks to this adjustment in brightness.”
Although there are thousands of species of frog known to science, there probably exist many more that they haven’t discovered yet. For instance, in April 2022, scientists described six new species from Mexico, all of which could fit on a thumbnail. According to a previous story from Live Science, the researchers observed that the frogs might be the tip of a massive iceberg of unidentified amphibians located only in Mexico.
WHERE DO FROGS LIVE?
There are frogs on every continent except Antarctica. Their habitats are incredibly varied, but they require proximity to water sources in order to breed. According to the University of Michigan’s Biocides website, northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) inhabit much of North America’s marshlands, brushlands, and other habitats, including farmland and golf courses, while Through the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, poison dart frogs hop.
Certain species inhabit habitats that are extremely specialized. Vietnamese mossy frogs, for instance, are found 2,300–3,300 feet (700–1,000 meters) above sea level, on the banks of rocky mountain streams and in mossy, flooded caverns, according to the National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute of the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that desert rain frogs (Breviceps macrops) appear to be restricted to the white sand dunes of Namibia and South Africa, where they burrow during the day and feed at night.
In addition to using their lungs, frogs can breathe via their skin by taking in oxygen from the water. According to the Burke Museum, they can still perish if their lungs fill with water or if the water they’re swimming in contains insufficient oxygen.
WHAT DO FROGS EAT?
Frogs consume a variety of foods, such as tiny fish, insects, spiders, worms, snails, and larvae. As per the San Diego Zoo, these amphibians are essential to the world’s ecosystems because they aid in controlling insect populations. They use their sticky, fast tongues to catch prey. Five times faster than a human eyeblink, frog tongues can catch insects in 0.07 seconds, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
Certain frogs hunt larger prey than slugs and flies. For example, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, cane toads (Rhinella marina), which usually reach a length of 9 inches (23 cm), easily consume small mammals, birds, and snakes in addition to other amphibians, table scraps, and pet food. Their natural range extends from southern Texas to the South American Amazon basin. However, cane toads have been brought by humans to other areas, and wildlife may suffer greatly as a result of their voracious appetites. They are an invasive species in places like Florida and Australia, where they poison animals—including pets and endangered species in Australia—that attempt to eat them and compete with native amphibians.
HOW DO FROGS REPRODUCE?
Scientists are still learning about the sexual lives of frogs, a species with a variety of mating tactics. According to the Australian Museum in Sydney, most species have mature males who announce to females that they are ready to mate by making loud calls. Egg-bearing females approach calling males and select one to mate with, typically in the water. According to the San Diego Zoo, fertilized eggs, also known as frog spawn, can take anywhere from 48 hours to 23 days to hatch, depending on the species. Tadpoles are tiny, legless, fish-like creatures that hatch from the eggs and eat algae for their first meal.
The book “Developmental Biology” (Sinauer Associates, 2000) states that the release of hormones from tadpoles’ thyroid glands initiates their transition into mature frogs. Tadpoles eventually develop legs, shed their tails, and are able to survive on land when they get out of the water. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, the term “amphibian” is derived from the Greek terms “amphi” and “bios,” which mean “both life” because they can dwell in both water and land.
ARE FROGS ENDANGERED?
The IUCN estimates that 40% of the amphibian species it has classified as threatened with extinction, making them the most threatened group of vertebrates on Earth. It follows that a large number of frog species are in decline and need on human assistance to live. The IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group lists pollution, disease, invasive species, trade, habitat loss and degradation, and climate change as some of the major risks to amphibians.
Concerning consequences for humans is the extinction of frogs. According to Save the Frogs, frog populations are a useful measure of the health of an environment since amphibians are highly responsive to environmental changes. As a result, the sheer quantity of amphibians that are in danger of going extinct serves as a warning to the harm that humans are causing to the ecosystem.
Watch this little YouTube movie from the Natural History Museum in London to learn more about how venomous frogs headbutt prospective predators. Visit the National Wildlife Federation website for advice on how to assist the frogs in your area. Check out “Frogs and Toads of the World” (Princeton University Press, 2011) to discover more about various frog species.