What are frogs?
Frogs are tailess amphibians belonging to the order Anura. The do have a back bone so are not an invertrebrate but they have made it to insecthouse.co.uk because frogs cause no end of excitement on a minibeast hunt! Amphibians are cold-blooded animals that can thrive both in water and land, or at least part of their life cycle.
Frogs are short-bodied animals with distinctively bulging eyes, webbed toes and fingers and long, cleft tongue. Jumping is their primary means of movement, not only meant for chasing prey alone. As a result, they have developed long, powerful, flexible hind legs.
Some people have confusion over the difference of toads and frogs. Physically, toads have rough, dry skin and shorter hind legs. They belong to the family Bufonidae. The members of the family Ranidae are those referred as “true frogs”. They have smooth, slimy skin with longer hind legs. They usually prefer moist environments in contrast with toads which prefer dry conditions.
During breeding season, frogs produce wide range of calls. This is the distinct sound we normally hear at night that sometimes can be irritating. Frogs mate by male going over the back of the female.
When the female spawns, the male frog fertilizes the eggs. Shortly after the eggs hatch, their tadpoles emerge, relying on their yolk sac as a first food. Tadpoles have mouth and tail. Their body is highly sensitive. After few days, they will swim and feed on microalgae present in the water. In 4 weeks, their gills begin to develop on their skin, but eventually it will disappear.
After 9-10 week, tadpoles grow bigger. Their head, arms, legs, and body begin to develop while their tail shortens. They will start feeding on insects and some plants. By 12th week, they already resemble adult frogs, sometimes called froglets. They must have completed their full life cycle at this stage.
What do frogs eat?
Adult frogs are carnivores. They feed on insects, arachnids (eg. spiders), earthworms, snails, and other small organisms. Frogs don’t drink. Instead, their skin absorbs water from the environment in the process called osmosis. Tadpoles are herbivores. They feed on algae and small aquatic plants.
Where do frogs live?
Frogs are widespread all over the world, but many species are more common in tropical regions. They are amphibians or semi-aquatic. Due to their permeable skin, they love areas with high humidity. They are often found in swamps, vegetations, creeks, and other moist areas with access to food. Their eggs and tadpoles are highly aquatic.
Interesting Froggy Facts
- The largest species of frog measures 13 in. body length and weighs 3 kg. It is called the Goliath Frog (Conraua goliath).
- The Glass Frog (Centrolenella colymbiphyllum) has skin that’s too transparent you can see its heart beating.
- The Golden Poison Dart Frog releases a toxin that could kill 100,000 people instantly.
Next time you find an adult frog. Examine it’s anatomical features. Can you tell the toads from the frogs. Take note of their differences and draw pictures.