Frogs are distributed on all continents except Antarctica about 7,000 species have been confirmed worldwide so far. 48 kinds of frogs have been confirmed in Japan. They have not only various ecology and cry but also various appearance. This time, I will focus on the most unique frog “Surinam toad”.
Besides Surinam toad, they are called “Pipapipa”. They are distributed in the tropical regions of northern South America centered on the Amazon River basin and inhabits the river. They rarely goes on land and spends Their entire life underwater.
Surinam toads hide in the bottom of the river with its front legs protruding forward. The brown flat body resembles dead leaves and rocks, and is a mimicry of predators and prey.
The star-shaped organs on the fingertips of the front legs act like the antennae of arthropods. When small fish or aquatic insects touch the front legs, they instantly prey on the large mouth. At this time, while opening the mouth and sucking the prey together with the water, the action is performed as if the front legs squeeze into the mouth. When moving, make use of the webbing of the hind legs to move, and proceed while pushing through obstacles with the front legs.
Surinam toads are a large frog with a body length of about 15 cm, but their triangular head and flat body that seems to be crushed from above make it hard to believe that they are a frog. The body color is brown and there are small protrusions like warts on the whole body. Wide webs develop on the hind legs. There is no webbing on the front legs, but there are small star-shaped organs on the fingertips. The eyes are small and barely noticeable, but the mouth is large.
Surinam toads are known not only for their appearance, but also for their females to care for their children. Before spawning, the skin on the back of the female becomes soft and thick like a sponge. Eggs are embedded in it. They hatch in the tissue and spend their larval stages in the tissue of the female back. By the time it pops out of the female’s back, it looks like a small frog. The Japanese name “Komori gaeru” is derived from this breeding behavior. After giving birth to a baby frog, the mother gradually strips off the thin layer of skin used to give birth and resumes normal life.
I like frogs as well as I have, and one day when I was researching various things about frogs, I met Surinam toads. I feel they are like another creature that is no longer a frog because its ecology is so far away from a normal frog. There are many other unique frogs overseas, so please check them out !