Frogs are fascinating creatures. They’ve been around for millions of years and survived the great extinction event that wiped out many other species, including the dinosaurs. Frogs have many unique traits, from rallying together to form “frog armies” to the way they drink.
5. A Group of Frogs is Known as an Army
Most frogs aren’t lone wolves, or lone amphibians, for that matter. Where there’s one, there’s usually another not far behind. Frogs tend to congregate in groups, especially around water sources. When threatened, they’ll move in unison, even coordinating croaks to ward off would-be predators. This has led to the nickname frog army!
Frog armies can be as small as a few dozen or as big as a few hundred. This can vary among different frog species. The biggest frog armies are usually formed during mating season and consist of a hierarchy of sorts, with larger frogs at the center of the group.
Whether you think the sound of a frog army sounds terrifying or hilarious, one thing is for sure, frog armies are a fascinating force of nature!
4. Some Frogs Are See-Through
While many frogs have a translucent underbelly, the glass frog takes this to a whole new level being almost completely see-through. These fascinating frogs showcase their entire organ system, from their beating hearts to their blood-pumping arteries. If a glass frog has recently eaten, its meal is often also observable as it moves through the digestive tract.
Glass frogs are found in trees across the rainforests of Central and South America. While indigenous people have known about glass frogs for centuries, they were first discovered by the scientific community in the late 1800s and have been a fascination of biologists ever since.
Sadly, most species of glass frogs are listed as threatened or endangered. Thankfully, this tiny translucent tree-dweller has a loyal fanbase. Conservationists are working tirelessly to protect the glass frog from some of its biggest threats which include deforestation and the exotic pet trade.
3. Frogs Breathe and Drink Through Their Skin
Frogs have a very unique way of breathing and drinking. Like most amphibians, frogs have permeable skin that absorbs water to keep them hydrated and allows oxygen to pass through. This process of absorbing oxygen through the skin is known as cutaneous respiration. Frogs quite literally breathe and drink through their skin!
For most frogs, the specific area where they absorb water is located on their belly and is known as a “drink patch.” Their unique way of hydrating is why frogs are usually never found too far from a water source. While that commonly means a lake, pond, or stream, some forest-dwelling frogs make do with rain puddles or bury themselves in mud and leaf litter to absorb water. A frog’s skin is also coated in a thin layer of mucus to help them avoid drying out.
2. Frogs Have a Four Stage Lifecycle
Like all amphibians, frogs have a unique four-stage lifecycle that starts in water and undergoes several changes before becoming adult frogs that can walk (or hop!) on land.
The first stage begins when adult frogs lay their soft jelly-like eggs in clumps or masses around the surface of the water, usually on or near aquatic plants. Once the eggs hatch, they’ll enter the second stage, known as the larval stage. These larvae are born with gills and a tail and will be released into the water as tadpoles, where they will live fully aquatic until they enter the third stage, metamorphosis.
Metamorphosis occurs as the tadpoles begin to sprout legs, lose their tails, and transform into juvenile frogs known as froglets that can leave the water. The fourth and final stage is when froglets transform into fully formed adult frogs that can traverse both land and water. Soon after entering adulthood, they will begin to reproduce, and the lifecycle will begin again with a new set of frogs!
1. Frogs Have Been Around Since the Dinosaurs
Frogs have roamed the earth for at least 200 million years. While many frog species have gone extinct, some of the frogs alive today have ancestors that lived right alongside dinosaurs! It’s also believed that the vast majority of frogs evolved rapidly at the end of the Cretaceous period meaning that frogs not only survived the asteroid strike, but also thrived after it.
The evolution of frogs is still being studied, but fossil findings are rare. Every time frog fossils are unearthed; a great amount of new data comes to light. A recent frog specimen found in Myanmar is believed to be approximately 99 million years old. It’s one of the oldest pieces of evidence of frogs living in these rainforests.
As scientists continue to study frogs and new fossils are found, there’s no doubt that more fascinating frog facts will be discovered!