Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Amphibians » Madagascaran Toadlets: Scaphiophrynidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Mocquard's Rain Frog (scaphiophryne Calcarata): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, MADAGASCARAN TOADLETS AND PEOPLE

Madagascaran Toadlets: Scaphiophrynidae - Behavior And Reproduction

frog frogs species eggs

The Madagascaran toadlets usually remain hidden during the day, staying out of sight underground, often beneath stones or logs. The green burrowing frog sometimes comes out during the day. This frog's color and pattern help it to blend in as it wanders about on leaves along the ground or climbs up green moss-covered trees. The color and pattern of the web-foot frog is also an excellent camouflage. Unless the frog moves, most people cannot see the brown and yellowish frog against the muddy ground, plants, and trees of its habitat.

Scientists have learned most of the information about this family during the frogs' mating seasons and believe that the frogs bury themselves underground and rest for much of the rest of the year. This resting period is known as estivation (es-tih-VAY-shun).

AN ANCIENT LINK

Scientists are interested in the Madagascaran toadlets because they think the toadlets may be a link between two major groups of frogs. One group, called the Ranoidea, includes the true frogs of the family Ranidae and others. The second group, called the Microhyloidea, includes the narrow-mouthed frogs and others. The skeletons of the adult Madagascaran toadlets include some bones that are like those found in both of these two groups. Madagascaran toadlet tadpoles also have a few features of each group. Because of the similarities between Madagascaran toadlets and the two major groups, scientists believe that both the Ranoidea and Microhyloidea probably had the same ancestor—one that, like the Madagascaran toadlets, had a combination of their characteristics. The species in Ranoidea kept some of those characteristics, and the species in Microhyloidea kept others.

The frogs mate during the summer's rainy season, which usually begins in Madagascar in December, January, or February. After heavy rains soak the ground and fill pools and swamps with water, males will group together at the watering holes and begin calling together. Group calling is known as a chorus. The sound of the loud choruses can carry over long distances and attract females. Each male calls by using his body and his vocal sac, which is extra flesh on his throat. He sucks in air, blows up both his body and his vocal sac, and lets out the air to make his call. This can be a dangerous time for the male frogs, which not only call in females with their calls, but may call in predators. While the males are calling and their bodies are full of air, the frogs cannot dive down into the water to escape, and this makes them easy targets for predators.

Mating in each of these frog species typically occurs all at once and over a very short time. A frog species that mates together and over a short time is known as an explosive breeder. To mate, the male holds onto the female's back by grasping her near her front legs. From this position, she lays her eggs. Many species, including the web-foot frog and Mocquard's rain frog, lay several hundred tiny eggs measuring just 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) in diameter. Usually, the eggs float together and form a film on the water surface. The eggs hatch into tadpoles. The warmer the temperature outside, the faster the tadpoles turn into froglets.


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