The Featured Creature: Darwin’s Frog: Incredible Parenting Skills and Still Going Extinct
Charles Darwin was lucky enough to discover this incredible frog during his world voyage on the HMS Beagle. For that reason, it has his name. This is Darwin’s Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), a bizarre creature that only reaches a size of 2.5–3.5 cm. These frogs can be either brown or green but all of the males possess a peculiar parenting trait that makes it one of the coolest amphibians in the world.
Take a look at the animation above. The alien-like motion in the frog’s chin is due to tadpoles moving about in the male’s vocal pouch!
What happens is, it’s the female’s job to lay around 30 eggs. The male then stands guard for about two weeks until they hatch. Once they do, he scoops the tads’ into his mouth where they finish developing into froglets inside his vocal pouch. The tadpoles are able to grow within the baggy chin skin by eating their egg yolk – yum! When the tiny tadpoles are big enough (about half an inch) their father spits them out and then they’re on their own. Talk about living a sheltered life!