Newly Discovered Fanged Frog Gives Birth to Live Tadpoles

Posted on January 1, 2015

Limnonectes larvaepartus

A newly discovered fanged frog in the Sulawesi rain forest gives birth to live tadpoles. The new frog species was discovered by UC Berkeley herpetologist Jim McGuire in the rain forests of Indonesia's Sulawesi Island.

Fanged frogs have two fang-like projections from the lower jaw that the frogs use in fighting. There researchers say there are at least 15 species of fanged frogs on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The new fanged frog species, Limnonectes larvaepartus, is the only known frog species that gives birth to live tadpoles. Other frogs lay eggs or give birth to froglets. The researchers say there is some evidence the male frogs of the species guard the tadpoles after birth. The scientists say in their research paper that one of the females gave birth to tadpoles in their hands at the moment of capture. One female was observed giving birth to 55 tadpoles. A photograph of a newborn tadpole is pictured below.

Limnonectes larvaepartus tadpoles


McGuire says in a statement, "Almost all frogs in the world – more than 6,000 species – have external fertilization, where the male grips the female in amplexus and releases sperm as the eggs are released by the female. But there are lots of weird modifications to this standard mode of mating. This new frog is one of only 10 or 12 species that has evolved internal fertilization, and of those, it is the only one that gives birth to tadpoles as opposed to froglets or laying fertilized eggs."

A research paper on the newly discovered frogs can be found here in the journal, PLoS One.

Photos: Jim McGuire